Gray announces $200,000 to improve Rhode Island Avenue in northeast D.C.

The eastern end of Rhode Island Avenue is the latest D.C. corridor to get a financial boost from the city to jump-start commercial revitalization.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and others announced a $200,000 grant Wednesday morning for Friends of Rhode Island Avenue, which will invest in improvements along the thoroughfare from Third to 10th streets and from 18th to 24th streets NE.

The money comes from the city’s Main Streets program, which has been tapped to help develop seven other city corridors.

Gray pointed to H Street, another corridor in Northeast, as an example of how city support can help transform a commercial strip.

Rhode Island Avenue has long been targeted by the city as one of next places for improvements, McDuffie said. “The potential is really here on Rhode Island Avenue,” he said. He pointed to the city’s $17 million investment to rebuild the Woodbridge Neighborhood Library.

McDuffie said the more western end of the avenue is flourishing, citing restaurants and businesses near the Metro station and a cluster of restaurants that have sprouted in Bloomingdale.

“It’s important that we bridge the gap,” McDuffie said.

Gray also said the investment in Rhode Island Avenue would plug “retail leakage.”

“We want people to shop here on Rhode Island Avenue,” he said.

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