“Main Street” Designation for Eastern Market Business Corridors on Fast Track
November 1 Start Date Seems Likely
by Larry Janezich
Tuesday night, some 40 community stakeholders gathered at a community meeting in the Hill Center to hear from Manuel Cortes, Chair of the Market Row Association, that the process for creating a Main Street designation for the Eastern Market commercial environment was well underway and could become a reality by November 1. For a previous story on the proposed Eastern Market Main Street, go here: http://bit.ly/29QAvhj
Funding for an Eastern Market Main Street was included in DC’s 2017 budget for the year beginning November 1. On July 8, the city issued a request for interested parties to submit applications for the creation of an Eastern Market Main Street. The 7th Street Merchant Row Association, which had been lobbying for the Main Street funding, is poised to submit an application by the September 8 deadline. The city will announce a decision on the application in October for a program start date on November 1.
If the application is approved, on November 1, $200,000 in funding will become available and the organizing of the governance structure and hiring of staff for the Main Street can begin. The city provides guidelines for the spending of the $200K, with $80,000 specified for administration (salaries and rent), $80,000 for promotion of the business district, and $40,000 for training an executive director, staff, and the board of directors.
Renewable annual funding is available in subsequent years, the amount depending on budget priorities; in recent years, the allocation has been $125,000, with $87,500 designated for promotion and $37,500 for salary of the executive director.
According to Martin Smith, Executive Director of Barracks Row Main Street, funding to cover other expenses must be raised by additional grants from city agencies, grants from private foundations, fund raising events (such as Barracks Row Fall Fest), and an annual campaign for donations. Smith emphasized that there are no mandatory fees, dues, or assessments from businesses making up the Main Street.
ANC6B, as previously reported, voted to support the Main Street proposal earlier this month. On Wednesday night, the proposal was discussed at a meeting of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC). The Committee voted unanimously to ask the Board of Directors for the 7th Street Market Row Association to meet with EMCAC within the next two weeks to discuss:
- The name of the proposed Main Street (Eastern Market merchants and vendors want a name that will make a distinction between Eastern Market as an entity and the proposed Main Street. One suggestion put forward was “Eastern Market Row Main Street”.)
- The conditions under which Eastern Market vendors (and the Saturday and Sunday flea market vendors) would participate.
- The respective roles of EMCAC and the new Main Street governance organization.
Another issue raised at Tuesday night’s community meeting – on behalf of residents – was a desire for more efficient communication between the proposed Main Street and residents. Cortes suggested that a task force could be created to facilitate communications, and Smith offered that residents participate on the key committees common to each Main Street organization, i.e., Promotion, Design, and Economic Development.
Donna Scheeder, EMCAC Chair, also told attendees at Wednesday night’s meeting that the report of EMCAC’s Market Operations Committee on a proposed 5 Year Plan for Eastern Market had been forwarded to Chris Weaver, the Director of the Department of General Services. It is uncertain how that plan will play out now in light of the Main Street proposal.
For the CHC post on the 5-Year Plan, go here: http://bit.ly/1XAprrP