Wacif to Launch Downtown Ward 7 Main Street Initiative

Wacif to Launch Downtown Ward 7 Main Street Initiative

Wacif to lead new commercial revitalization initiative to promote economic growth and small business development on anchor commercial corridor in Ward 7

Washington, D.C. (September 29, 2017) – Yesterday, at its 30th annual event, Wacif unveiled its designation by the Washington, D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) as the operator to launch the newest main street east of the Anacostia River. The new main street program is designated for the intersection of the Minnesota Avenue NE and Benning Road commercial corridor in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 7, also known as Downtown Ward 7.

“Wacif is honored to receive this designation by the City, and to expand its partnership to promote economic inclusion and equitable economic development,” said Harold Pettigrew, Wacif’s Executive Director, during the unveiling. “This new main street initiative will be at the center of driving economic growth, promoting economic opportunities for entrepreneurs in Ward 7, and deepening Wacif’s investment east of the river. Wacif has a long history leading commercial revitalization and small business development initiatives, and we look forward to the Downtown Ward 7 Main Street joining the ranks of D.C. Main Street programs throughout the city that have served as anchors for economic development.”

The new Downtown Ward 7 Main Street is one of four new main street programs designated to join the city’s existing 12 main street programs. DC Main Streets, a program of DSLBD, builds on the Main Street Approach® that was developed by the National Main Street Center in 1980 to assist commercial revitalization efforts nationwide. The Approach consists of four points which work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort in the following areas:

  • Organization of commercial revitalization efforts
  • Promotion of neighborhood commercial districts
  • Designs affecting the physical environment of the commercial district and the appearance of business storefronts and interiors; and
  • Economic vitality including business retention, recruitment, and expansion

The unveiling of the Downtown Ward 7 Main Street follows announcements earlier in the week of a new initiative focused in Ward 8 and funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) to launch a formal collaborative focused on executing the equitable economic development plan for the 11th Street Bridge Park. The collaborative, which is led by Building Bridges Across the River, and comprises a partnership between Wacif, City First Enterprises, and the Skyland Workforce Center, will receive $5 million over the next three years as one of four winners (out of 34 national applications) of JPMC’s national Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods) annual competition. Wacif will lead the collaboratives small business development efforts to provide capital and technical assistance to locally-owned small businesses, and will establish a new satellite office in Ward 8 in the coming months. These two initiatives will anchor Wacif’s presence in both Wards 7 and 8, and provide a platform for increased investment east of the river.

The new Downtown Ward 7 Main Street will officially launch in early 2018. To learn more about the D.C. Main Street Program, please visit https://dslbd.dc.gov/service/DCMS.

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About the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif)

The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is a regional nonprofit community development organization whose mission is to promote equity and economic opportunity in underserved neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Since its inception in 1987, Wacif has closed nearly 400 loans totaling over $32 million, with strategic investments in small business startup and growth, affordable housing and cooperatives, and community facilities. For more information on Wacif, please visit www.wacif.org.

About the D.C. Main Street Program

DC Main Streets, a program managed by the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development, is a comprehensive program that promotes the revitalization of traditional business districts in the District of Columbia. Created in 2002 through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Main Streets serves as the citywide coordinating program that provides services and funding for the twelve Main Streets found in the District of Columbia. Main Streets mission is to support the traditional retail corridors in the District. For more information on the DC Main Streets Program, please visit https://dslbd.dc.gov/service/DCMS.

About the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD)

The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) supports the development, economic growth, and retention of District-based businesses, and promotes economic development throughout the District’s commercial corridors. DSLBD envisions a business environment in which: DC businesses are connected in real-time with local, federal, and global business opportunities; businesses navigate government quickly, confidently, and effectively; and, every entrepreneur and business with a great idea and a great plan has the capital to make it happen. For more information on DSLBD, please visit www.dslbd.dc.gov.

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