Fifteen local businesses have applied, as of Tuesday, for a part of $500,000 in state aid to cover economic losses related to the crush of visitors and media that clogged sidewalks and streets in Sandy Hook after the Dec. 14 school shooting.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the state grant earlier this month as a way to help small businesses cope with business losses associated with the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The board of selectmen discussed on Tuesday for the first time a process to distribute the state money to cover any business losses between Dec. 14 and Jan. 8.
Businesses interested in recouping losses should contact the town's economic development director, Elizabeth Stocker, by the Feb. 15 deadline. Businesses will have to fill out an application and provide proof of their losses. The grant is provided through the state's Small Town Economic Assistance Program.
Visitors and journalists from all over the state and country visited Sandy Hook, a hamlet within Newtown, after the shooting. Many people came to offer gifts — stuffed animals, flowers and other mementos — that quickly became a sprawling memorial to the 20 young students and six educators who were killed in the massacre.
Some businesses operated as usual during the onslaught. The Subway sandwich shop and the Sandy Hook Diner, for instance, had enough customers that they aren't seeking recompense, said Donald Sharpe, chairman of the Newtown Economic Development Commission.
But others were blocked off from their customers by the crush of traffic.
In the days and weeks after the shooting, state troopers, Newtown police and even police from other towns who came to help out, directed a crawling line of cars on Washington Avenue and Church Hill Road, which is state Route 34.