Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced Wednesday that the U.S. Small Business Administration has declared a disaster and is making assistance available for Auglaize, Mercer and the contiguous counties that were impacted by the toxic algae bloom at Grand Lake St. Marys this summer.

Strickland requested the assistance Friday, Oct. 15. “I deeply appreciate the SBAs quick action to declare a disaster and make these much-needed loans available to the small businesses that struggled because of a loss of revenue this summer,” Strickland said. “This assistance will help Grand Lake St. Marys businesses and the community as they recover from this economic hardship.”

The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program will be available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private-non-profit organizations in Auglaize and Mercer counties as well as the contiguous counties of Darke, Van Wert, Allen, Hardin, Logan and Shelby.

Applications for this declaration will be taken via phone and internet for nine months from the date of the SBA declaration.