Monday, May 26, 2014
Help Fight the Removal of Funds Earmarked for H Street Business Development
The H Street Corridor is now a region-wide attraction, but the hard work is far from done. Local investment is still very much needed.
The following is a very important plea from H Street Main Street Executive Director Anwar Saleem. H Street Main Street ("HSMS") is the local merchant's association. They have played, and continue to play, a vital role in the redevelopment of the H Street Corridor. The potential loss of funding would be a great detriment to our beloved Corridor. Please urge your Councilmembers to continue to support small business development along our Corridor.
The Mayor’s economic development team is actively maneuvering to undermine all the work we have done over the last decade. H Street NE is not finished! There is still a lot of work to be done on H Street NE and important corridors extending from and to H Street.
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) was an important partner in helping H Street propel forward from 30 percent ground floor vacancy to under 10 percent today and toward a number of other important milestones and accolades. However, current DMPED staff has proposed to take funds that have accrued in the H Street N.E. Retail Priority Grant Fund (Grant Fund) and to disburse them to other neighborhood commercial districts. Again … H Street NE is not finished!
The Grant Fund is an H Street accomplishment and a testament to all of our ongoing effort to revitalize H Street. The funds in the account are based on the difference in value added tax wise on H Street between 2007 and today. We all have worked to realize this difference on H Street. Now, DMPED has presented legislation to DC Council within the current budget discussion that would take the Grant Fund valued at approximately $20 million through 2017 and send it potentially to Connecticut Avenue NW, 7th Street/Georgia Avenue NW, Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant Street NW, and other retail priority areas beyond H Street. H Street NE is not finished!
HSMS certainly wants ALL District commercial corridors to be successful and attractive to immediate neighbors and visitors, but H Street is not done yet. With streetcar coming online and a number of development projects with new retail space and ongoing improvements needed in existing retail buildings, H Street needs to maintain available resources to assist with attracting and retaining important retail venues.
Both Benning Road and Bladensburg Road are important to what happens on H Street NE. Developments along both corridors are already benefiting from their intersection with and proximity to H Street. There is a unique opportunity to work directly with property and business owners on each of these corridors to organize and prepare them for new and complementary investments. They have asked for assistance from HSMS, and HSMS has the capacity to assist. DMPED has denied funding to HSMS and now claims that helping retail priority areas throughout the entire city is consistent with helping Benning Road and Bladensburg Road NE.
The help we need from you urgently is your voice! Please call and email the DC Council before 5 PM on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 and asked them for the following:
Please help us help the city by continuing to support our efforts on H Street NE. H Street NE is not finished! We need all available resources, including and especially the funding of the H Street NE Retail Priority Grant Fund, for H Street NE and important commercial streets intersecting with H Street at its eastern end.
We understand that HSMS has presented preferred language to Council that protects H Street’s interest while offering to assist other corridors on a one-time, demonstration basis. That preferred language should be adopted in lieu of what DMPED has presented.
Thanks in advance for your work on this. We will watch the hearing on Wednesday to confirm your support.
Please send the above support message to and call the following DC Councilmembers:
Phil Mendelson (Chair), firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.724.8032
David Catania, email@example.com, 202.724.7772
Muriel Bowser, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.724.8052
Vincent Orange, email@example.com, 202.724.8174
David Grosso, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.724.8105
Anita Bonds, email@example.com, 202.724.8064
Jim Graham, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.724.8181
Jack Evans, email@example.com, 202.724.8058
Mary M. Cheh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.724.8062
Kenyan McDuffie, email@example.com, 202.724.8028
Tommy Wells, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.724.8072
Yvette Alexander, email@example.com, 202.724.8068
Marion Barry, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.724.8045
Thanks for your ongoing support of HSMS and our joint efforts on H Street NE. Please email me at email@example.com.