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Baltimore Businesses Affected By Riots Receive Help From State

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Nearly 50 businesses affected by last year's riots are now getting help from the state.

Mike Schuh reports the money will be used to make their businesses look better and more secure.

The riots are a time in Baltimore history few want to revisit but businessmen like Mike Evans can't help but think about it.

"With the different trials coming up, there's a definite possibility of something like this happening again," Evans said.

For 30 years, his family has run a framing shop downtown. Businesses next door had their security doors ripped off and looted.

"It looks sturdy but if you grab on to it, you can get your hands on it and you can lean back on it," Evans said.

With enough force, it breaks. That's what happened next door.

Such troubles got the attention of the state Department of Community Development.

"It's important to make sure that those businesses stay in those communities, so this fund helps," said Ellington Churchill, Maryland Housing & Community Development.

He's talking about $650,000 to rebuild damaged storefronts and protect ones that were spared.

Reinforcement for Evans' shop could cost $10,000. He can't currently afford that.

Two doors down, Stephan Wise has never had a sign outside of his tailoring shop. Now the state money will improve the look of his store and this whole strip.

"Because it's between paying your rent and survival and a sign," Wise said. "Of course paying your bills is more important than signage."

Though it's been over a year since the riots, business owners say they welcome the changes and the money, no matter when it comes.

"Oh, I can't wait for them to come because you have to protect your investment," Evans said.

After the riots, Baltimore City awarded over 70 grants of $5,000 to help businesses rebuild.

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