BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Four community organizations representing underserved neighborhoods in western Queens and the Rockaways have been awarded $30,000 each.
Avenue NYC, which helps commercial districts thrive and provides a vibrant mix of goods and services for residents in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, awarded more than $1 million to 34 development projects across the city, including Jackson Heights’ 82nd Street Partnership, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, Queens Economic Development Corporation and Rockaway Business Alliance.
“The Avenue NYC initiative is investing in local community-based organizations to help strengthen and preserve small business corridors across our city,” said Gregg Bishop, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services.
The $30,000 grants would be used to strengthen and preserve the winners’ neighborhoods through tailored projects that include business attraction/retention, façade improvements, merchant organizing and placemaking.
Avenue NYC will be working with the 82nd Street Partnership to develop a rewards program with participating businesses and orchestrate seasonal events to encourage local residents to explore and shop along Roosevelt Avenue. It will enable the Sunnyside Shines BID to create marketing initiatives to promote and celebrate the diverse array of independent restaurants and cultural activities along Queens Boulevard and assist the QEDC with coordinating interactive programming in
Woodside and Corona Plaza that would connect residents with businesses.
Sunnyside Shines BID Executive Director Jaime-Fay Bean said the $30,000 would go towards three of the BID’s continued projects—the Sunnyside Card Program, Holiday Passport program and a welcome kit.
Both the Sunnyside Card and Holiday Passport programs give residents access to deals in shops across the district, while the Shop Local Holiday Passport features holiday deals at local businesses and gives members the chance to win holiday prizes.
“It’s a way of keeping Sunnyside dollars in Sunnyside,” Bean said.
The welcome kit will include a map of Sunnyside to provide information for new residents in the neighborhood.
“The Avenue NYC grant helps strengthen our relationship with the residents in our neighborhood and our neighborhood businesses,” Bean said.
According to 82nd Street Partnership Executive Director Leslie Ramos, the organization will use its grant to continue revitalizing the Dunningham Triangle at 82nd Street and Baster Avenue in Jackson Heights.
“We hope to provide activities at the triangle that will connect our community businesses to our broader community,” Ramos said.
Ramos said that some of the activities she’s hoping to initiate between July 1 and June 30, 2018, include yoga classes, dance demonstrations, health screenings and food tastings.
To apply for the grants, applicants must be nonprofit community-based organizations—such as business improvement districts, local development corporations and merchants associations—operating in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods within the five boroughs that are compliant with annual state and federal filing requirements.