Connecticut Avenue at Van Ness is becoming a Main Street with the aid of a $200,000 grant awarded today.
The grant will support the work Van Ness Main Streets, Inc. has already been doing to promote the commercial district to developers, support the area’s small businesses – and to ensure the community’s needs are met in the process.
More details about what the Main Street designation means are in this press release from VNMS:
Van Ness Main Streets, Inc. Wins Grant
Van Ness Main Streets, Inc. announces that its application for a grant to create a Main Street Program on Connecticut Avenue NW was approved by the District’s Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD). The $200,000 grant will enable Van Ness Main Streets to hire a full time Executive Director and launch a Main Street program in January 2016.
The Main Street Program was created 35 years ago by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help communities revitalize their commercial districts. There are more than 2,000 Main Street programs across the country, including eight in DC, all of which work to attract new investment, jobs and businesses. Financial support for the Main Street programs comes from local business and property owners, community stakeholders, residents, events and DC.
Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh led the effort to secure start-up funding for the first Main Street programs in Ward 3, one in Van Ness and the other in Tenleytown. “I’m delighted that I was able to secure funding for Main Street grants in Ward 3 and am excited to see what the grantees are able to achieve over the next year,” Cheh said.
Van Ness Main Streets’ mission is to make Van Ness a beautiful, sustainable and economically vibrant cultural hub by supporting the growth of, and attracting new, small and local businesses, and by coordinating and activating our local cultural institutions, that expand our tax base and create jobs. Businesses, property owners and residents will benefit from a freshly defined Van Ness brand, including streetscape improvements, cultural events, and technical assistance.
Van Ness Main Streets Board of Directors President, and ANC 3F Commissioner Mary Beth Ray, said “This is a turning point in the transformation of Van Ness from a dull concrete canyon to a vibrant cultural and commercial corridor. With UDC’s student center and BF Saul’s Park Van Ness opening soon, people are going to start seeing big changes. With the Main Streets funding, we’ll be able to take our vision to the next level, making changes that promote walkability, visual appeal and the retail vibrancy we’re all craving. We could not have gotten this far without the support of our community, and we’re grateful to Councilmember Cheh, the Board, and all those who have supported our three-year visioning efforts.”
Van Ness Main Streets will be seeking applications for the Executive Director position, and looking for office space so that its launch on January 4, 2016 will be seamless.
Van Ness Main Streets will host a series of events for the community to learn more about opportunities to benefit from Main Streets and to get involved as a volunteer.