Posted tagged ‘Main Streets’

Here’s Your Chance to Help the Georgia Avenue Main Street Thrive

April 1, 2018

The Lower Georgia Avenue Main Streets is currently conducting a survey to identify community priorities, creating an opportunity for residents to engage. The survey is open until April 4th and can be found via SurveyMonkey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/765JZPB.

The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete. The purpose of the survey is to help the program better understand community priorities. Hard copies are available upon request. Everyone is encouraged to participate today and feel free to forward this invitation to others!

The Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street is a new community-based economic development program to support small businesses and neighborhoods along the Georgia Avenue corridor from Kansas Avenue to Barry Place. Georgia Ave Thrive partnered with District Bridges in applying for this grant, awarded Fall 2017 by DC’s Department of Small and Local Businesses.

More info is available on the District Bridges website at districtbridges.org.

Mayor Bowser Visits Park View, Announces Main Street, & Walks Community

October 17, 2017

Yesterday, Mayor Bowser visited the Park View neighborhood with two goals. The first was to announce that Georgia Avenue Thrive and their partner District Bridges have been selected to lead the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street program. DC Main Streets is a comprehensive program that promotes the revitalization of traditional business districts in the District of Columbia. The announcement was held at Walls of Books.

(Pablo Sierra, Brianne Dornbush, and Jennifer Kuiper with Mayor Bowser.)

Following the Main Street announcement, Mayor Bowser toured the neighborhood with community leaders and agency representatives. The route went north of Walls of Books along Georgia Avenue to Princeton Place, where it headed east to the Park View Recreation Center, wound past the school and then east on Newton Place ending at the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center. The Mayor was especially interested in talking to small businesses owners along Georgia Avenue, checking out vacant properties, getting details on the damaged playground at the Bruce Monroe at Park View school, and everything in between. Following the neighborhood walk, Mayor Bowser held office hours at the Senior Wellness Center.

Below are a few photos from the community walk.

Columbia Heights Initiative Holds Meet & Greet with Area ANCs to Talk Main Streets

February 27, 2017

main-streets-meeting(Participants from Main Street/ANC meet & greet. From l. to r.: Brad Gudzinas (1B02), Sharon Farmer (1A07), Christine Miller (1A05), Brianne Dornbush (Columiba Heights Initiative), Kent Boese (1A08), Jack McKay (1D03), and Zach Rybarczyk (1A03)).

On Saturday, February 25th, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners from Columbia Heights, Park View, and Mount Pleasant were invited to meet with Brianne Dornbush of the Columbia Heights Initiative and discuss the new Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant Main Street that was recently awarded to the Initiative. The Main Street is still in its early stages of organizing, so much of the conversation centered on how to share information, how to have the local ANCs work with each other and the Main Street, and suggesting priorities on where the Main Street could focus its efforts in the coming year.

One issue that was discussed was how to brand the main street, as Columbia Heights/Mt Pleasant Main Street is long. I suggested that a possible name could be the Mid-city Main Street as Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant are located within the Mid-city element of the Comprehensive Plan.

Another issue that was discussed was how to bridge the gap between Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant. Whether on Park Rd or Irving Street, the two business areas of the Main Street do not abut. The gaps between the business areas don’t encourage pedestrians to continue from one area to the other unless one already has a specific purpose in mind. Here, I suggested that public art could be one way to unite the areas, much like Capitol Hill did with their Alphabet Animals project a couple years ago.

Among the other issues that were mentioned was the relationship between the area Clean Team and the Main Street. Currently, they are two separate efforts that cover roughly the same area. In other main streets, the clean team is under the umbrella of the Main Street which helps with organization and ensures that both efforts are serving the same area. Several participants were of the opinion that the two should be combined in Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant too.

It will be interesting to see how the newest Main Street effort evolves and what its first projects will be. Future opportunities are sure to be scheduled soon to continue the networking and collaboration that are necessary for a thriving neighborhood Main Street.

New Main Street Announced for Columbia Heights

November 16, 2016

mainstreet-logo

A hearty congratulations goes out to the Columbia Heights Initiative for their selection as the organization to run another of the District’s growing Main Streets organizations.

Yesterday, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) announced the designation of two new Main Streets corridors — the Eastern Market Main Street and the Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights Main Street.

According to DSLBD’s Press Release: “Our Main Streets not only provide new economic opportunities for small businesses, but they are a collection of stories from diverse communities and represent the true vibrancy of the District.”

The Columbia Heights Initiative will manage the Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights program, which is designed to revitalize the Mt. Pleasant Street and Columbia Heights commercial corridors and implement initiatives and services to support the growth and development of neighborhood businesses.

The organization will receive a $200,000 grant from DC Main Streets and extensive technical assistance to support non-profit capacity building, business retention, program design and implementation, and commercial-revitalization planning to maintain the traditional and unique character of the distinct neighborhoods that are included in the Main Street program boundaries.

Main Street Recommended for Georgia Avenue

October 20, 2015
3600 block of Georgia Avenue, looking north from Lion's Fine Wines and

3600 block of Georgia Avenue, looking north from Lion’s Fine Wines and Spirits.

Earlier this year, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) initiated a process to hire a consulting team to study to see if lower Georgia Avenue would benefit from a Main Street Program. DC Main Streets is a comprehensive program that promotes the revitalization of traditional business districts in the District of Columbia.

At the October 12th meeting of the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force a member of the consulting team, Jon Stover, was in attendance and gave an update of the Main Street Feasibility Study. In short, the study will recommend to DSLBD to initiate a Main Streets program on Georgia Avenue. At the meeting, Stover gave an overview of the highlights, and also cautioned that even though a Main Streets is recommended, DSLBD will still have to make a determination themselves.

The area recommended for the Main Streets is Georgia Avenue with Florida Avenue as the southern boundary and Upshur as the northern boundary. This is a 24-block stretch of Georgia Avenue, which is longer than what is normally taken on as a Main Streets, but not excessively so. But, because of this in part, it is also recommended that this area be organized as two smaller areas that wrap up to one central head. In this case, Kenyon Street would be the dividing line between the northern half and the southern half.

Main Streets are typically funded with DSLBD providing 50% of the funds and the remainder coming from the organizing efforts and management that takes charge. In this regard, Stover indicated that there is one significant risk factor for Georgia Avenue, which is that currently there is no preexisting entity or organization that has a history of fundraising for the community. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be one, and we surely need one, but one doesn’t exist at this time. Because of this, part of the recommendation is that the funding for the initial year be $75,000 instead of the normal $200,000, with subsequent annual funding amounts increased as the organization gets up and running. This approach isn’t typical, but there is precedent for it and it has been one successful way to get this up and running.

The one risk factor aside, the other indicators strongly suggested that Georgia Avenue was ready for a Main Streets program. There is support from the community and local businesses and everyone wants to see Georgia Avenue thrive.


%d bloggers like this: