The Queens Economic Development Corporation has received a three-year grant from the NYC Department of Small Business Services to develop and carry out revitalization projects in Corona.
“COVID-19 has had devastating effects on our Black, Asian and Latinx communities and it is important we deliver the resources they need to recover,” said Jonnel Doris, SBS commissioner. “These initiatives will help revitalize our commercial corridors and bring them back stronger than ever.”
With the generous grant from SBS, QEDC has hired Astoria resident and organizer Sam Massol, who founded and ran a few community-based nonprofits, including Astoria Green and BridgeRoots.
Massol will analyze the commercial corridor along Roosevelt Avenue between Junction Boulevard and 114th Street. Then, he will develop a plan to help the local merchants.
Massol said he’s looking forward to saving and preserving local businesses in Corona that are the “heart and soul” of the neighborhood.
“When you go to Astoria it feels different from Sunnyside and Richmond Hill because small businesses in those neighborhoods reflect that character,” Massol said. “The main focus of this project is to create a three-dimensional landscape and build a strong, robust economy at the local level.”
To provide support services, QEDC has sub-contracted with the Street Vendor Project (SVP), a membership-based project with more than 1,800 active vendor members, who are working together to create a vendors’ movement for permanent change.
SVP will provide capacity-building services to district street vendors so they can acquire the business acumen to formalize their businesses and maybe even open brick-and-mortar stores. The agency also plans to carry out a placemaking campaign.
QEDC has also sub-contracted with Latin Women in Action Inc. (LWIA), a comprehensive community based social service agency. Its mission and goals are to provide essential services to not only Latinas, but any family or individual seeking help in New York City.
LWIA will focus on merchant engagement to shape cleanliness and beautification programs.
As the prime contractor, QEDC will coordinate the efforts and provide business support and technical assistance services — training webinars, counseling and COVID-related resources – to the targeted merchants.
SBS has recently awarded more than $4 million in Race, Equity and Inclusion grants to qualifying nonprofits via its Neighborhood 360° and Avenue NYC programs.
QEDC’s funding comes from Neighborhood 360, a program that identifies, develops and launches commercial revitalization projects in partnership with local stakeholders, such as small businesses and community-based organizations.