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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off Jazz in Bloom and Highlights Investments in “Bringing the People” Downtown

Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Three-Pronged Approach to the Transformation and Revitalization of Downtown Includes Changing the Space, Filling the Space, and Bringing the People

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME), and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) kicked off Jazz in Bloom, a series of concerts at Union Station that will take place throughout the spring. DC’s Comeback Plan outlines a three-pronged approach to the transformation and revitalization of downtown: fill the space, change the space, and bring the people.

“Our downtown is the economic engine that allows us to invest in our schools, our safety net, our public safety teams and so much more. We know that the comeback of downtown relies on our ability to bring more people downtown,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that neighborhoods with a better balance of residents, workers, and visitors are more resilient. We have plans and programs to bring more residents downtown, more workers downtown, and more visitors downtown – that includes international and domestic tourists as well as visitors from across DC and around the region. Our plans and investments reflect what we know to be true: people are the lifeblood of DC.”

OCTFME’s Jazz in Bloom concert series, which kicked off today with a performance by Elijah Jamal Balbed, will return to Union Station on Wednesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 27, with additional dates forthcoming. Jazz in Bloom is part of DC Creatives – a partnership between OCTFME and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation to bring more DC performers to Union Station. In addition to this partnership, OCTFME is also working with the DowntownDC BID to bring additional DC performers downtown this summer.

During today’s event, the Mayor highlighted investments included in her Fiscal Year 2024 Fair Shot Budget proposal to revitalize downtown DC, including:

  • $1.5 million in additional funds for participating businesses in Creative and Open Space Modernization (COSM)
  • $3 million enhancement for Great Streets and Small Business Fund
  • $9.8 million to fund improvements at Farragut Square
  • $1.5 million for a Festival Fund to offset costs for community organizations hosting events
  • Increasing the available Housing in Downtown abatement from $6.8 million to $41 million in FY28

“Downtown DC is home to 35% of our businesses, employs close to 240,000 workers and generated nearly $1.15 billion in annual revenue pre-pandemic,” said Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Keith Anderson. “We know how important our downtown is and we are excited to continue invest in its revitalization, particularly investments in programs like the DC Family Fun Destinations grant that will bring residents and visitors back Downtown.”

In addition to the Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposal investments, there are number of projects and plans already funded that will support the comeback of downtown, including:

  • Family Fun Destinations, a grant program from DMPED supported by $7.5 million in investments to support the creation of new family-friendly attractions downtown and other parts of DC. The agency will accept proposals beginning April 28 until June 3 at 4:00 p.m. via a Request for Applications (RFA). Details will be available at obviouslyDC.com.
  • DC Creatives is a partnership between OCTFME and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation that will bring DC performers to Union Station. In addition, OCTFME’s partnership with DowntownDC BID will additionally bring DC performers downtown this summer.
  • Tourism Recovery District, a new temporary 1% assessment paid by visitors to DC hotels, which will expand Destination DC’s budget by an estimated $20 million per year for the next several years.
  • Downtown Public Realm Plan, a plan to re-envision the public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and parks of the downtown core to better enable a people-centric, vibrant, and inclusive collection of mixed-use neighborhoods. By the end of 2023, the final Downtown Public Realm Plan will be released by the Office of Planning (OP) that shows how to elevate downtown as a livable place for 15,000 new residents by 2028.
  • Downtown Action Plan, DMPED intends to partner with the DowntownDC and Golden Triangle Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to create a comprehensive Downtown Action Plan that details initiatives that are key to achieving the vision and goals for Downtown outlined in DC’s Comeback Plan, including roles for public and private actors; this work will complement the Downtown Public Realm Plan.
  • Streets for the People Initiative, a grant program that expands the utilization of sidewalks, alleys, curbside space, parking, and travel lanes to create more vibrant public spaces by including the works of local artists, cultural organizations, and businesses. Last year, the initiative brought 110,000 people downtown with 104 activities. This year, the initiative will kick off with a mural painting on 17th street and parklet installation on M Street in Golden Triangle neighborhood.
  • Union Station Expansion Project, the District invested $1 million in Fiscal Year 2023 to conduct a project delivery and governance study for this project, an important next step on the path to a modernized Union Station.

“During Jazz Appreciation Month, OCTFME is excited to present the inaugural ‘Jazz in Bloom’ showcase of incredible jazz artists from the area’s creative community,” says LaToya Foster, OCTFME Director and DC Film Commissioner. “We will celebrate our city's rich cultural heritage while reinvigorating downtown with pop-up concerts, giving music lovers the opportunity to support local businesses and enjoy the city's vibrant social scene to the tune of the best jazz line-up around.”

To learn more about projects and programs which support the revitalizing of downtown DC and opportunities to get involved, visit obviouslyDC.com.

To read the District’s comeback plan which sets six goals over the next five years to make DC a place for successful businesses, opportunity-rich neighborhoods, and thriving people, visit comeback.dc.gov

Throughout the week, the Mayor is highlighting how her Fiscal Year 2024 Fair Shot budget proposal supports DC’s comeback through investments in housing and bringing back downtown. To learn more about Mayor Bowser’s FY24 Budget, visit budget.dc.gov.