(Afro) — A grant designed to assist newly-introduced retail shops on H Street while offering no relief for longtime minority-owned businesses sparked a heated debate on Sept. 21 with city officials. Officials with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), and the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), laid out the criteria, application and deadline process for local businesses to apply for the newly-introduced H Street Retail Priority Project Grant (RPAG). The grant awards a total of $1.25 million in $85,000 allotments to eligible merchants. As DMPED Chief Of Staff Brian Kenner and the other officials described how the RPAG came to supplant an earlier, ineffectual, tax increment financing (TIF) funds initiative for H Street business improvement, meeting attendees aggressively pressed forward, demanding to know why barber shops and beauty salons had been excluded from consideration for RPAGs.
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