By Kenyan McDuffie
Since taking office, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie (D- Ward 5) has worked to deliver creative and sustainable ways to enhance economic development throughout Ward 5 and has made significant in-roads in investing in the economic vitality of the Ward.
Through the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) budget progress, McDuffie allocated funding for economic development incentives, streetscape enhancements, Main streets programs and assistance for small businesses along Ward 5’s major corridors.
“From major development projects, to corridor enhancements and new Main Streets programs, we were very successful in the in securing funds to make Ward 5 a more vibrant place to live, work, and open a business,” stated McDuffie.
During this Council period, McDuffie secured $300,000 to support the expansion of the H Street Main Street to Bladensburg Road in Ward 5, and to create a new Rhode Island Avenue Main Street. Created in 2002, the D.C. Main Streets program fosters retail investment in targeted corridors. The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) provides comprehensive technical and financial assistance to neighborhood nonprofit organizations, which manage the Main Street for the benefit of the community.
The Rhode Island Avenue Main Street organization, which will stretch from 3rd Street, N.E. and 24th Street, N.E., will develop programs and services to: (1) assist business districts with the retention, expansion and attraction of neighborhood-serving retail stores; and (2) unify and strengthen the commercial corridor. Likewise, extending the H Main Street program to include Bladensburg and Benning Roads will allow the organization to enhance the visibility of this corridor and give local businesses the opportunity to connect to services that support their growth.
Recently, DSLBD issued a notice of funding availability for the for a Rhode Island Avenue, N.E. Main Street operator. The designated DC Main Streets program will receive $200,000 in grant funding and technical assistance to support commercial revitalization initiatives, and will thereafter be eligible for an annual funding allocation from the city.
The grant recipient will be selected through a competitive application process and announced in September 2013. Interested applicants should review the Program’s Guidelines and submit a complete application form for receipt via email on or before Wednesday, August 28, 2013. The Request for Appli-cation (RFA), which comprises the application form and program guidelines, will be available on July 26, 2013 at www.dslbd.dc.gov.
“With the help of the D.C. Main Streets program, places like Barracks Row are now thriving, commercial hubs,” said McDuffie. “Implementing a Main Streets program for the Ward 5’s corridors will allow us to enhance the visibility of this corridor and give Ward 5 businesses the opportunity to connect to services that support their growth.”
Furthermore, last year McDuffie introduced, and the Council adopted, the “Retail Incentive Amendment Act of 2012.” This legislation designates Ward 5’s two Great Streets, North Capitol Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE, as Retail Priority Areas. Additionally, Bladensburg Road was added a Great Street during the FY14 budget progress. This was the first step towards securing funding to support the revitalization of Ward 5’s Great Streets.
“I am happy to say, because of efforts we made through legislation, there are now significant changes being made to the Ward 5’s corridors that will make them truly vibrant gateways into the District,” said McDuffie. It is important that we create commercial assets that residents can embrace and enjoy. I look forward to working with businesses in the area to build on the progress we’ve made and continue to move Ward 5 forward.”