Community Development Daily: Spotlight on New York (NY) and Cincinnati (OH)

As a part of National Community Development Week, the Conference of Mayors is sharing success stories daily on what Community Development Block Grants support in our nation’s cities. 

Here are two more CDBG Works examples from New York City and the City of Cincinnati, both showing how CDBG dollars are revitalizing neighborhood housing and businesses in low and moderate income communities.

New York, NY

The Avenue NYC program, operated by the Department of Small Business Services, promotes the economic viability of neighborhood business districts that serve low- and moderate-income areas.  This program helps small businesses directly engage local residents in their area, preserve neighborhoods, and set the foundation for the areas’ long-term prosperity.  In 2016, 66 local development corporations had 71 active projects, 44 of which were completed.  Grant amounts range between $25,000 and $35,000 but allow groups to undertake activities they would not otherwise be able to do.  As an example, the Myrtle Avenue Commercial Revitalization and Development Project used CD funds for a Facade Improvement program that provided assistance to nine storefront projects, created a Facade Improvement Case Study Guide, conducted a resident storefront improvement survey, and held a storefront design competition with local residents.  The group also completed a Retail Market Analysis and Resident-Consumer Needs Survey to identify what types of stores were needed in the area and conducted a consumer satisfaction survey to evaluate the group’s work.  The group attracted four new merchants and held seven workshops focused on retaining existing local businesses.  A total of $2,213,000 in CDBG funds was allocated in Calendar Year 2016 to the Avenue NYC program

Cincinnati, OH

South Block Properties, LLC and the City of Cincinnati are currently renovating the historic buildings located at 2504 Chatham Street, 771 and 772 East McMillan in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati.  The properties were previously vacant, severely blighted and posed a health and safety threat to the Walnut Hills community. Phase I of the project, which includes the rehabilitation of 2504 Chatham Street to include 6 market rate rental units, began in June of 2016 and will be complete by May of 2017.  Work on Phase II of the project, which includes the rehabilitation of 771 and 772 E. McMillan Street to include 7 market rate rental units and 2,500 square feet of commercial space, began in November of 2016 and is slated to be complete by year end 2017.  Building materials and finishes will be high quality and all new plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems will be installed.  Each unit will feature laundry and on-site bicycle storage.  The Development team anticipates recruiting a local restaurant to anchor the project’s commercial space.  This project is in a key area of the Walnut Hills business district, in which the City has invested $2.5 million in the surrounding E. McMillan corridor.  This project will provide much needed market rate housing to support the City’s ongoing revitalization efforts in the Walnut Hills neighborhood.  Total project cost for this development is $2,484,700; of which $865,000 has been provided with CDBG funds.  Other funding sources include private financing, historic tax credits, and developer equity.

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