Two organizations representing downtown Flushing received $1.55 million to improve and strengthen its bustling commercial corridors.
The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) awarded the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District (Flushing BID) the grant, which is to be used to improve the area’s commercials districts, on March 13.
Part of SBS’ Neighborhood 360° program — an initiative that strengthens and revitalizes commercial corridors by providing funding to local nonprofit organizations — these groups will be able to use the funds for uses including business attraction, retention and support, cleaning and beautification, marketing, public safety and other quality-of-life enhancements in downtown Flushing.
As part of the grant selection process, the bustling area was profiled in a Community District Needs Assessment (CDNA). The top three issues that need improvement in the area according to surveyed downtown Flushing merchants are parking, sanitation and transit, the report said.
Improvements the groups will seek to make with the grant money include investing in additional sanitation and street beautification services, building upon local marketing campaigns, repurposing underutilized spaces for arts and cultural programming and establishing a formal Flushing tourism program, according to the CDNA.
“The forces of gentrification are putting incredible pressure on small businesses in minority and immigrant communities like Flushing,” said Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. “The survival of these local businesses is critical to a sustainable neighborhood, where mixed-use businesses provide a vital economic and cultural role.”
Groups in five other neighborhoods were awarded funding: downtown Staten Island, east Brooklyn, east Harlem and Inwood in Manhattan and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.
“Strong neighborhoods are the backbone of our city, and the nearly $9 million in investments announced today will go a long way toward revitalizing key commercial corridors,” said SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop. “Working with community partners, we are responding to local needs to support small business growth and build more vibrant neighborhoods for all New Yorkers.”