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LISC NYC Teams up with NYC Small Business Services and Citi Community Development to Strengthen and Revitalize Commercial Districts across New York City

10.28.2016

3.13.17 - Update:  Three awardees were announced as recipients of the Citi/LISC funds at a March 13th press conference with SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito: Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco).

LISC NYC is thrilled to share news about the launch of its partnership with New York City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and Citi Community Development on Neighborhood 360°, a new program that strengthens and revitalizes commercial corridors and small businesses that anchor New York City neighborhoods. It is LISC NYC's first major programmatic partnership with SBS focused on commercial revitalization.

The partnership grew out of LISC NYC’s work with SBS to create a Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA) for community based organizations to gain baseline data and information about their local commercial corridors. The CDNA built upon LISC’s national MetroEdge tool for economic development. To date, community organizations have used this tool in 24 corridors in all five boroughs of New York City to develop actionable development and revitalization plans. Larisa Ortiz Associates took the lead for LISC MetroEdge on this project.

As part of the holistic approach being used by City agencies in neighborhoods slated for rezoning under New York City’s 10-year housing plan, community-based organizations and associations completed CDNAs along corridors located in Downtown Staten Island, East New York, East Harlem, Downtown Flushing, Inwood, and Jerome Avenue. Community-based organizations in these neighborhoods will be able to tap into approximately $3 million in program grants per year to fund revitalization projects, including merchant organizing, public programming, streetscape enhancements, business development, and other quality of life improvements.

LISC NYC will provide winners of the Neighborhood 360° grants with financial resources, expertise, and support with storefront improvements and retail attraction. Together, LISC NYC and Citi Community Development have contributed $525,000 to the initiative, enabling organizations to make visible and meaningful change in their communities in a relatively short time period.

"We are excited to contribute resources and expertise to NYC SBS's Neighborhood 360° program, thanks to support from Citi Community Development and LISC National, to revitalize commercial corridors in New York City neighborhoods," said Sam Marks, executive director of LISC. "This program deepens our partnership with NYC SBS that began last year with the development of the CDNA tool, and we are excited to be collaborating further to implement ideas that are emerging from the assessment phase."

Program Details:

Neighborhood 360° Targeted Commercial District Needs Assessments

The CDNAs provide a snapshot of the local business environment in the six neighborhoods and provide community-identified strengths, challenges, and opportunities for revitalizing individual commercial corridors.  The assessments, completed by local CBOs with funding provided by SBS, are based on door-to-door surveys of merchants and customers, a physical study of the storefronts, interviews with community stakeholders, and meetings with community members.

The CDNAs were completed by local CBOs and targeted the following areas:  

Neighborhood 360° Grants

The Neighborhood 360° grants allow not-for-profit corporations to apply for funding to develop, implement, and sustain commercial revitalization projects and staffing that actively address the strengths, challenges, and opportunities identified in CDNAs and other community planning efforts. Projects funded by Neighborhood 360° grants, up to $500,000 per neighborhood, will address the needs identified in the CDNAs.

Additional support from LISC NYC and Citi Community Development will assist up to three community-based organizations to make direct investments along corridors for streetscape and façade improvements that create more vibrant and welcoming commercial corridors.  Groups selected for this additional investment will also receive technical assistance from LISC NYC to develop and implement equitable economic development strategies that strengthen the health of neighborhood commercial corridors.

Groups selected for LISC NYC’s additional funding and technical assistance are expected to be announced in early 2017.