(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Office of Planning (OP) award more than $2.8 million in grants to eligible Business Improvement Districts and Community Improvement Districts in Central Washington through the Streets for People Grant Program. The Streets for People grants will fund organizations to temporarily retrofit streets, sidewalks, and alleys to allow people to gather safely and enjoy civic spaces, cultural amenities, and retail located downtown and nearby areas. The activities funded through these grants will attract daytime and nighttime foot traffic and encourage the public to dine and shop at local restaurants and retailers and contribute to the economic recovery of our downtown area.
“Streets for the People builds off the popular and successful Open Streets concept – the idea that we can reimagine how we use public space not only for commuting and playing, but also for how we interact with each other and support local businesses,” said Mayor Bowser. “There has never been a better time to think about how we can activate our business and entertainment corridors in new ways, and I know that Washingtonians will be eager to come out and support these activations.”
The selected organizations provided imaginative and innovative proposals for rethinking how public space in downtown can be used and how pedestrians can be prioritized in the public realm in a safe, accessible, and inclusive way. Each of the grantees is partnered with local artists, cultural organizations, and businesses that focus on Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. Ideas range from fashion pop-ups, parklets, food markets, and family friendly games to culturally significant activities and events highlighting art and local artists, a variety of culturally significant music genres and concerts, and salsa dancing in the street. These public space activations will take place starting in May 2022.
“We know that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly impacted the numbers of office workers, residents, and visitors in Central Washington disrupting businesses and driving many of them to close or modify operations,” said Interim Director Anita Cozart. “Streets for People is our opportunity to bring people back downtown and transform how they experience our streets and sidewalks in the area.”
The grant recipients are:
- Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District
- DowntownDC Business Improvement District
- Dupont Circle Business Improvement District
- Golden Triangle Business Improvement District
- Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District