In the fall of 2015, LISC DC began working with MetroEdge, a LISC program that provides expert and data-driven guidance and support for local organizations seeking to revitalize a business district. As a result, a commercial revitalization firm prepared market analyses and related recommendations for RIA Main Street and presented them in the spring of 2016. The recommendations and roadmap for action can be found here.
Our efforts in assisting RIA Mainstreet in getting the blueprint needed to take the reins of its economic future had begun a while before the roadmap for action was developed. We connected Kyle Todd, the Executive Director of Friends of Rhode Island Avenue (FoRIA), with MetroEdge to assist him in identifying opportunities for commercial revitalization and devising a roadmap for action for the mainstreet. LISC DC had already established a strong relationship with Kyle when we provided a grant to be passed through to a new local grocer, Good Food Markets.
Our investment enabled Good Food Markets to open their store, essentially ending one of the District’s “food deserts,” making available fresh and affordable foods to the Woodridge community, and also created new jobs, paying livable wages to neighborhood residents. While LISC DC is proud of our investment in Good Food Markets, we knew that in order for the corridor to reach its full potential to serve the diverse needs of its surrounding residents, we needed to work to help build the capacity of RIA Main Street.
We’ve met with FoRIA’s Board of Directors, provided demographic analysis for the corridor, mapped out a multi-prong strategy based upon what was occurring on the corridor, and developed an overarching economic development strategy for the corridor – (1) build the capacity of the Main Street and (2) invest in small businesses on the corridor.