Kenyan is working with existing businesses to adapt to a changing market and identify resources and opportunities for growth. Additionally, he is working with the development community to enhance retail offerings, create affordable housing, and expand employment opportunities for Ward 5 residents.
Retail Priority Areas
Eight years ago the Council passed the Retail Incentive Act of 2004, which identified key corridors within the District (commonly also called “Great Streets”) where there was an impediment to retail development and where bond financing could promote targeted economic growth. When Councilmember McDuffie joined the Council, Ward 5 was home to two Great Streets, North Capitol Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE, in name only. They lacked the corresponding Retail Priority Area designation that would allow these two corridors to share in the TIF financing vehicle that supports the revitalization of other Great Streets. Councilmember McDuffie ushered through the Council legislation designating three Ward 5 corridors as Retail Priority Areas: Bladensburg Road, North Capitol Street, and Rhode Island Avenue NE. The Retail Priority Area designation stimulates additional economic development, strengthens neighborhoods, increases the tax base, and creates new jobs for District residents.
Great Streets Program
To compliment a street’s designation as a Retail Priority Area, Great Streets funds are used for small business retention and attraction programs, which have the potential to revitalize commercial corridors. Councilmember McDuffie introduced and passed legislation declaring North Capitol Street and Rhode Island Avenue NE as “Great Streets.” Councilmember McDuffie also extended the boundaries of H Street’s Greet Street to include Bladensburg Road. As a result of this legislation, eligible applicants were able to apply for grants of up to $85,000 to support and foster growth among their businesses. To date, 20 Ward 5 businesses were awarded grants to expand, sustain their services, and make façade improvements.
Main Streets Program
Created in 2002 through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Department of Small & Local Business Development’s (DSLBD) Main Street program provides community-oriented services and funding to traditional retail corridors across the District of Columbia.
Councilmember McDuffie allocated funding to create a Rhode Island Ave. Main Street organization to support revitalization along the corridor. The Rhode Island Avenue Main Street is now operational and assisting small businesses across one of the District’s most prominent gateways.
After facing organizational challenges, Councilmember McDuffie worked with residents and a new board to revitalize the North Capitol Main Street (NCMS). Thanks to the Councilmember’s leadership, NCMS is now fully operational and working with residents to retain and recruit businesses, improve commercial property façades, and host events that attract consumers from across the District.
Councilmember McDuffie also worked to enlarge the boundaries of the H Street Main Street to include Bladensburg and Benning Roads. This expansion extends critical support to small businesses along these corridors and brings more amenities to the Trinidad, Langston/Carver Terrace, and Arboretum neighborhoods.