Staten Island Chamber awarded grant to help revitalize Bay Street corridor

The Chamber received part of a $1.54M grant for the project

From left are left, Janet Dugo and Linda Baran of the Chamber, SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop, and Elizabeth Bennett and Monica Valenzuela of Staten Island Arts, who also received part of the grant, to be used for placemaking and public art initiatives on the corridor.

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce announced it has been awarded part of a $1.54 million grant to help revitalize the Bay Street commercial corridor in St. George, Tompkinsville and Stapleton.

The funding comes from the city Department of Small Business Services “Neighborhood 360” program, which helps community-based organizations promote economic development in the areas they serve. The Chamber was selected to lead these efforts through a competitive grant process that took place late last year.

In early 2016, in collaboration with NYC SBS, the Chamber conducted a commercial district needs assessment — an intensive process of data collection and analysis — to determine specific areas of need and opportunity along the corridor.

NYC Small Business Services then called on community-based organizations to apply for grants to implement specific projects that will achieve the goals outlined in the CDNA report. Along with the Chamber, two other organizations have been awarded funding to be used on Bay Street: Staten Island Arts for placemaking and public art initiatives; and the Lower East Side Partnership 100 Gates Project for storefront gate beautification.

In addition, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a separate $50,000 grant through the LISC Commercial Corridor Challenge. Working in conjunction with the Neighborhood 360 program, the LISC grant — funded by LISC and Citi Community Development — will allow for immediate storefront and streetscape improvements and retail attraction and retention in the area.

The grants were announced at a press conference attended by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in East Harlem. Grants for similar work in other neighborhoods across the five boroughs were announced at the same time. A total of close to $9 million has been awarded by the Neighborhood 360 citywide.

“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 Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

“Working with community partners, we are responding to local needs to support small business growth and build more vibrant neighborhoods for all New Yorkers.”

The Chamber has hired Janet Dugo as project manager for the Neighborhood 360 initiative. Dugo brings a wide range of experience to the position, including a stint on Wall Street, more than 10 years as a small business owner, a deep understanding of the Staten Island business environment from her time as publisher of Staten Island Business Trends, and a history of building coalitions through leadership roles in non-profit organizations. She also served as project manager of the Chamber’s Commercial District Needs Assessment of Downtown Staten Island.

“The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce has proudly served our community for over 120 years from offices on Bay Street in the heart of Downtown Staten Island,” said Linda Baran, president and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “From our unique vantage point, we’ve seen many changes to the neighborhood through the years. Now, with so much exciting large-scale development happening in the area, it’s poised to emerge as a major commercial hub. This investment by the city is exactly the boost needed to support its revitalization.

“We’re especially honored to be selected to lead this project and look forward to working with the borough president’s office and our other community partners to make Downtown Staten Island an even greater place to live, work and play.”