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Queens organizations secure nearly $1.9 million in funding for revitalization efforts

Several Community-Based Development Organizations (CBDOs) and Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) in Queens have secured grants to help revitalize and improve the neighborhoods where they operate — including funding for new street lighting. Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, pictured (Photo by Michael Dorgan)

Sept. 15, 2023 By Michael Dorgan

Several Community-Based Development Organizations (CBDOs) and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Queens have secured nearly $1.9 million in grants to help revitalize and improve the neighborhoods where they operate.

The Queens organizations, which include groups such as Woodside on the Move and the Long Island City Partnership, are among 44 organizations across the city that will share in a series of multi-year grants totaling $4.8 million, the Dept. of Small Business Services (SBS) announced on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at a press conference in Brooklyn.

The funding includes $2.7 million allocated toward the Neighborhood 360° program, which identifies and develops commercial revitalization projects, as well as to the Avenue NYC Commercial Revitalization Grants fund, a program targeting commercial districts in low-and moderate-income communities.

The Queens Economic Development Corporation in Astoria and the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition in Astoria will be allocated $600,000 each while Woodside on the Move and the Asian American Federation in Murray Hill will be allotted $300,000 each from Neighborhood 360° and Avenue NYC programs.

The $4.8 million grants announcement also includes $1.5 million to the Commercial District Lighting projects, a new grant program aimed to address inadequate commercial district lighting, with the Long Island City Partnership and the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District netting $100,000 each.

The Commercial District Lighting project aims to address neighborhood concerns of insufficient lighting at night while improving public safety and vibrancy in commercial corridors, according to SBS.

“These grants aren’t just numbers with a dollar sign next to them—they are investments in people and in communities,” SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim said. “They are critical to making New York the City of Yes, and to making our commercial corridors not just spaces for small businesses to be in, but spaces for them to thrive in.”

William Jourdain, the executive director of Woodside on the Move, said the funding will expand the organization’s services to support economic development.

“Our vibrant community is home to people from all over the world, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with local businesses to identify their needs,” Jourdain said.

“Many of our local businesses, run by hardworking new Americans and undocumented families, face challenges without adequate support. We’re bridging the gap between these small businesses and city agencies, ensuring they access the resources needed to thrive. Together, we’ll preserve our beloved community’s unique identity and prevent it from being overshadowed by major corporations.”

Laura Rothrock, the executive director and president of the Long Island City Partnership, a local BID, said that funding from the Commercial District Lighting project would directly improve the streetscape and quality of life of Long Island City.

“Additional lighting, especially along the Business Improvement District, will bring attention to our small businesses, attract more foot traffic, and enhance safety for all,” Rothrock said. “SBS has shown a true commitment to communities by providing neighborhood-based organizations resources to expand our services and capacity. We look forward to installing creative lighting projects that will further illuminate our dynamic thoroughfares and help us celebrate our diverse community.”

The remainder of the $4.8 million funding will see around $400,000 allocated to SBS’s Strategic Impact Grant in order to create Commercial District Needs Assessments (CDNAs) that will guide future investments in their neighborhoods. The Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services Corporation in Ozone Park will receive $80,000 in funding from this allotment bringing the total allocated to Queens organizations to $1.88 million

Meanwhile, $300,000 in Organizational Development Grants will be provided to several non-profits that provide technical assistance to SBS’ CBDO partners, including professional development, video storytelling, nonprofit management coaching, workshops, legal aid and board engagement support.

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