Posts Tagged ‘revitalization


Opportunity Is Knocking For RIA NE

opportunityWhat do the revitalized corridors of H Street, Barracks Row, Dupont Circle, and Shaw Main Street have in common? Other than attracting new restaurants, businesses, and interest from residents and passerbys, they are all part of DC’s Main Street Program. The Program was one of the biggest drivers of revitalization along these corridors and it’s now coming to Rhode Island Ave NE.

The Department of Small and Local Business Development has put out a Notice of Funding Availability for Rhode Island Ave NE Target Area, saying:

The designated DC Main Streets program (organization) will receive $200,000 in grant funding and technical assistance to support commercial revitalization initiatives. The Rhode Island Avenue Main Streets organization 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. The DC Main Streets grant award is a recurring grant.

The DC Main Streets Program is different than being a Great Streets (another program), and Rhode Island Ave NE now has the distinction of being both. Started in 2002, the DC Main Street Program “fosters retail investment in DC by providing services and funding to help communities retain and recruit businesses, improve commercial properties and streetscapes, and attract consumers.

“Through the DC Main Streets program, DSLBD provides comprehensive technical and financial assistance to build the capacity of neighborhood nonprofit organizations (i.e. DC Main Street organizations) to assist businesses and coordinate sustainable community-driven revitalization efforts in their neighborhoods. The local DC Main Street commercial district revitalization efforts are organized and led by local volunteers and community development professionals. DC Main Street program grant recipients are competitively selected.”

This is great news for the Avenue and is pointing to some great things to come for the Avenue!


My Thoughts: What Now?

by Greg Roberts

As many of you already know by now, according to sources, Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr has agreed to resign in a plea agreement that will most likely also see him in federal jail for 2-3 years. We can all continue the debate of what kind of man he is and what kind of Councilmember he is/was, but I will say that his movement lately to bring a focus back on to RIA has helped energize a lot of people to get involved. The Insider has received numerous questions about what happens to RIA now? Now that HTJ is going away, how are we going to continue this movement?

How about this for a response: Revitalizing RIA NE is bigger than one man. Yes, HTJ was motivated to bring attention to RIA in the last couple of months but that motivation was brought on by the residents demanding it. There are a lot of people and groups out there that are focused on continuing the successes that RIA already has and is getting. The PCDC held its visioning session last year. Friends of Rhode Island Ave (FoRIA) has continued to garner new members and has an ambitious agenda for 2012 (if you haven’t already, join them!).

This is not the time to think that our efforts can be thwarted or slowed by one member of our community’s departure (forced or not). Personally, my involvement has helped me make some good friends thanks to our shared interest in seeing RIA revitalized and I look forward to making new ones as we continue our journey. This has helped me enjoy my community even more. I won’t let a bump in the road change my enthusiasm. Granted, our Councilmember for Ward 5 is an important ally to have on our side and we need a councilmember to help champion our cause. I am not going to waste time right now speculating on who the right person is to replace HTJ but I am sure that whomever it is will take up the torch that HTJ left on efforts to bring funds and efforts to our cause.

Also, remember, we have four Councilmembers who are At-Large. I know, I forget sometimes as well. I guess we forget because do we ever see them in our community? Exception to Mr. Orange who used to be the Ward 5 Councilmember and is from this area. They should be in our Ward and meeting with our community just as much.

Make sure to let them know that you want them to ensure that RIA NE’s revitalization efforts continue and that they also become our champions on Council:

David Catania, (202) 724-7772,

Phil Mendelson, (202) 724-8064,

Michael A. Brown, (202) 724-8105,

Vincent Orange, (202) 724-8174,

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