RIA Main Street Is Here – What’s Next?

Posted on Jan 5, 2014 in Commercial RIA, DSLBD, News, RIA Main Street

The holidays have been a flurry of activity here! Since Councilmember McDuffie and Mayor Gray’s December 18 announcement of the selection of FoRIA to manage the new Rhode Island Avenue Main Street, we’ve been scrambling to get our transition in place. We know you probably have tons of questions – and we want to make sure we get all the answers for you. Back in September, we posted some FAQs about the RIA Main Street. We’ll be spending the next few weeks attending required trainings for Main Street policies, procedures, and expectations. We’ll also be mapping out our programs for the next year, all within the framework of the Main Street Four Point Approach®. Then, we’ll roll it all out to you, in a variety of formats. Now it is YOUR turn. What are your questions about the new RIA Main Street? Leave your questions in the comment section below, or drop us an email. Either way, we’ll get the answers to...

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FoRIA Wins Rhode Island Avenue Main Street Bid

Posted on Dec 18, 2013 in Commercial RIA, DC Council, DSLBD, FoRIA Events, News, Office of the Mayor, Press, RIA Main Street

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 18, 2013—The DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) has selected Friends of Rhode Island Avenue NE (FoRIA) to manage the new Rhode Island Avenue Main Street program, effective immediately. Mayor Vincent Gray and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie made the announcement today at 10 a.m., as part of Mayor Gray’s regular bi-weekly press conference. Rhode Island Avenue Main Street will be the newest of eight independent, non-profit Main Street programs in the District. The boundaries will run from 4th Street NE to 24th Street NE along Rhode Island Avenue NE, which is also a section of the historic Route 1 corridor, and one of DC’s designated Great Streets. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity,” said James Holloway, Chair of the FoRIA Board of Directors. “For a long time, the communities that surround Rhode Island Avenue NE have asked for more restaurant and retail options within walking distance of their homes. FoRIA’s goal has always been to work with the community to build the type of vibrant commercial corridor that will not only serve this amazing and diverse community, but will also be an opportunity zone where locally-owned businesses can thrive.” The DC Main Street program has been in existence since 2002, and provides resources for local organizations to leverage private investment through public and private partnerships while revitalizing existing commercial corridors and historic landmarks. The program serves small businesses, which are a driving force for the local economy. In the last year alone, DC Main Streets programs have created more than 470 new jobs in the District. DC’s program was created through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and utilizes the National Trust’s Main Street Four-Point Approach® for commercial...

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Rhode Island Avenue Main Street – Some FAQs

Posted on Sep 1, 2013 in Commercial RIA, DSLBD, News

Earlier this year, the DC Council included funds for a Rhode Island Avenue Main Street program in the FY2014 budget. By the end of July, a request for applications was released by the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) to solicit applications from non-profit organizations to manage the program. The application closing date was August 28th, and the announcement of the organization selection is expected to happen in September. FoRIA submitted an application, and we’re eagerly awaiting the final decision. This is an amazing opportunity for all of the residents and businesses along the RIA-NE corridor. We’ve received a lot of questions the Main Street program, so we thought we’d take a minute to share the questions we’ve been asked, and our responses. • What is a “Main Street program”? The National Main Street program has been in existence for over 30 years, and it is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 2002, the DC Main Streets program was created through the national program, and it is managed by DSLBD. In 2012 alone, the DC Main Streets Program contributed some impressive numbers to the local economy: Net Job Gain:   471 Net new businesses:   29 Rehabilitation projects completed:   31 Value – Private:   $51,981,000 Public improvement projects completed:   2 Value – Public:   $2,740,000 At its core, the Main Street program is essentially a tool, or template, that is used to strengthen and revitalize traditional commercial corridors. Historically, when “big box” stores and strip malls go into small towns in rural America, those communities would lose their downtown areas – their town squares or central “Main Street” district. Urban neighborhoods were seeing the same trend, as the suburbs expanded with malls and other retail destinations. Some beautiful and historic architecture was being lost in these areas, and the National Trust saw an opportunity to not only save historic buildings, but to really provide communities with the tools to save their downtowns. So the National Trust developed The Main Street Four Point Approach® to community revitalization, and the Main Street program was created. • What is the “The Main Street Four Point Approach®”?  The Main Street Four Point Approach® refers to 4 areas of focus: Design – which means getting the area in top physical shape. Capitalizing on the assets, like historic buildings. But it also means creating an inviting atmosphere through improved landscaping, street/sidewalk infrastructure improvements, window displays, signage, etc., to convey a visual message about what a community’s Main Street is all about and what it has to offer. Promotion – selling the image – and promise – of a community’s Main Street. It means marketing the area’s unique characteristics to shoppers, investors, visitors, and new businesses. For our community, that means events like Fall Fest, which is all about getting the community to spend time on RIA and to begin seeing it again as a preferred destination. It means creating promotional material to attract new businesses and new customers. Economic Restructuring – this is about helping existing businesses expand, and recruiting new ones to respond to the market needs. It is about creating a cohesive business retention strategy that is more than just pushing for new businesses to open – it is about really understanding the market and being able to build an economically vibrant Main Street where the businesses thrive because they are in the right market for their product. Organization – this is pretty much the backbone of the Main Street program. It creates a cohesive program by getting everyone working towards the same goal. This means...

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