In an effort to attract new businesses to Takoma Park and increase the city's tax base, the City Council and local businesses have launched the Laurel/Carroll Commercial Revitalization Project.

The goal of the project is to "encourage the commercial and economic revitalization" of the Carroll Avenue and Laurel Avenue business district, according to Al Phipps, a consultant to the city and coordinator of the project.

The city will use a $200,000 community block grant to devise an overall plan for the area that may involve some redevelopment. The plan is expected to be ready by October at which time it will be presented to the City Council for public hearings.

Phipps said he would like to modernize the area and "try and retain as much of the Takoma Park Victorian flavor as we have." One part of the program will be a loan pool established by the city to help some of the businesses pay for renovation of their buildings.

Through such activities as a block party and a name and logo contest, the city hopes to make the residents aware of the businesses that are already in the area and rally support for the revitalization project.

"The area has been receiving drastic competition for shopping centers," said Alan Shaffer, assistant city administrator. "It hasn't provided the services the city and the citizens need. It hasn't reached its potential it can reach with some revitalization effort."