NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel, the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Citi Community Development, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City today announced a storefront improvement initiative to help repair storefronts and create a cohesive image for the Beach 116th Street commercial corridor in the Rockaways, which was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Citi Community Development provided $250,000 for the program, matched by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, totaling $500,000 in funds. In addition to storefront improvements, SBS, the Department of Parks and Recreation, NYPD, Department of Transportation, Department of Buildings, and Department of Sanitation will help enhance the image of Beach 116th street through new shrubbery, planters, and benches, better lighting, an urbancanvas art installation, and cleaner and safer streets.
“Mayor Bloomberg and the administration has made recovery in the Rockaways a top priority since the moment the storm hit," said Robert K. Steel, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. "The Storefront Improvement Program is the latest sign of the City’s commitment to bringing the Rockaways back stronger than it was before the storm.”
“Thanks to the Mayor’s Fund, Citi Community Development, and City agencies working together, the storefront improvement initiative and streetscape projects will send a clear signal that Beach 116th Street is back in business after Hurricane Sandy,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “This group has hit the ground running and has already achieved significant steps towards making the commercial corridor cleaner, safer, and brighter.”
“Since the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Citi has consistently worked with our partners at the City of New York to develop and support initiatives that reach deep into hard-hit communities and help connect business owners and residents with the resources they need to recover and rebuild,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development. “Our support for the storefront revitalization effort along Beach 116th Street reinforces the work we’ve done supporting the City’s post-Sandy Small Business Assistance Grant program as well as the citywide advertising campaign reminding New Yorkers that the Rockaways are open for business. New York City is our hometown too, and six months after the storm, Citi remains committed to ensuring that we strategically dedicate resources that enable our fellow New Yorkers to rebound stronger than ever.”
“The Mayor’s Fund is pleased to help small businesses on Beach 116th Street and others affected by the hurricane open their doors, especially in advance of the busy summer season,” said Megan Sheekey, President of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “It is thanks to great leaders like Citi and the over 20,500 donors to the Mayor’s Fund, that we can provide this assistance, as well as critical support for residents and nonprofit organizations throughout the city who were impacted by the storm.”
“The work being done to restore our city's beaches will benefit people who live and work in the Rockaways in addition to the millions who visit here every summer,” said NYC Parks & Recreation Commissioner Veronica M. White. “It's wonderful to know that the businesses along 116th Street are going to be repaired and restored for so many to use when they come to our ocean beach.”
“I am proud of the herculean efforts of New York’s Strongest to help our neighbors in the Rockaways begin to recover and rebuild their lives from the unprecedented destruction caused by Super Storm Sandy,” said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty. “The dedicated men and women of Sanitation worked tirelessly to help their fellow New Yorkers and continue today to assist where possible.”
"These improvements are long overdue and will go a long way in the comeback of Rockaway. Beach 116th Street is vital to the community and our small businesses need all the help they can get. I want to thank Commissioner Walsh and the administration for their focus on the small businesses of Rockaway."
“I am very happy to see the developments between the Deputy Mayor, Department of Small Business Services and businesses in the Rockaways. I believe this is a great step in the right direction for our beachfront shopping centers. I hope to see a continued interest in all of the small businesses in the Rockaways and I look forward to working with everyone, as we continue to build all of the Rockaways,” said Councilman Richards.
Working with merchants along Beach 116th Street and utilizing local services and materials, the storefront improvement initiative will help create designs for storefronts located between Newport Avenue to the Flight 587 Memorial Roundabout on Beach 116th Street. Once approved by participating merchants and finalized, individual designs will help the corridor adopt a small town beach theme reflective of the merchants’ vision. Designs will incorporate similar elements throughout the corridor, such as signage and color palette, to create a cohesive aesthetic.
Eligible businesses can apply online for the storefront improvement initiative at www.nyc.gov/beach116storefront or by calling 311. Funding will be provided to store owners to implement the architectural designs for their facades. Owners will be obligated to implement approved designs for their properties. Eligible activities could include, but are not limited to new signage and awnings, display window repair/re-glazing, masonry work and brick pointing, exterior lighting installation, cornice repair, exterior painting, door replacement/repair, and more. Applications are due by July 1, 2013.
In addition to storefront improvements, the City is engaged in a variety of streetscape projects to help enhance the image of Beach 116th Street. The Department of Parks and Recreation will plant new shrubbery at the Flight 587 Memorial Roundabout, and along street medians and sidewalks. The new plantings will be designed to remain resilient against future severe weather conditions. The Department of Buildings is working on an urbancanvas project that will help beautify blighted properties by wrapping them in public art displays. The Department of Transportation will provide new lighting, benches, and planters. Working with the Department of Sanitation, a new Clean Streets Team has been assigned to maintain the commercial corridor and keep the streets clean, and NYPD has assigned a local patrol officer to oversee the corridor and ensure increased safety and security.
Immediately after Hurricane Sandy, the City provided a low-interest Emergency Loan Fund for small businesses impacted by the storm. Loans of up to $25,000 are interest free for the first six months and 1% for 24 months. Businesses approved for the loan are also eligible for a matching grant of up to $10,000, supported by private funds from the Mayor’s Fund. To date, more than 629 loans have been approved, totaling more than $14.2 million, and nearly $3.7 million in matching grants. In addition to the loan and matching grant, the City has to date provided a total of $800,000 through the Small Business Assistance Grant program, also funded through the Mayor’s Fund, to help small businesses repair physical damage, or repair or replace lost or damaged equipment. The City also launched an advertising campaign encouraging New Yorkers to support small businesses that reopened after Sandy. Ads featuring Rockaways businesses like Surfside Bagels, Blue Bungalow, Rockapup, Hot Yoga, and others, were placed on phone kiosks and bus shelters throughout the City, as well as subways and Citywide and local newspapers. The City also announced fee waivers, sales tax exemptions, and the Restoration Business Acceleration Team (RBAT), which has been helping small businesses by coordinating the services, permitting and inspections needed to reopen as soon as possible.
About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services, go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.
About the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to innovative public-private partnerships throughout NYC’s five boroughs. One hundred percent of donations in response to Hurricane Sandy are being dispersed to relief and recovery efforts and organizations. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, contributions helped to support the supply and transport of emergency needs including hot food, toiletries, baby supplies, cleaning materials, warm clothing and medications for New Yorkers. The Mayor’s Fund is now focused on longer-term rebuilding and restoration efforts, including sponsoring a network of housing counselors and legal service providers to help residents, mold awareness trainings and treatment in homes, and programs for nonprofit organizations and local businesses affected by the hurricane. For more information go towww.nyc.gov/fund and follow the Fund on Twitter @NYCMayorsFund.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, please visit www.citicommunitydevelopment.com.