NEW YORK CITY-Though much media coverage has been given to sky-high rents in Manhattan, a new program launched by FleetBoston Financial attempts to address the same problem in New York’s outer boroughs. Named the Community Renaissance Initiative, it is a three-year effort to fund solutions to community development issues in the Northeast. Downtown Brooklyn, New Haven, CT, Buffalo and Lawrence, MA are the recipients.

Made possible through funds from Community Renaissance Initiative, Fulton First (Fleet Initiative for Retail Services and Trade) has been organized by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to assist small businesses along a two-mile stretch of Fulton Street. “The $750,000 three-year grant will be used to attract new businesses to Fulton Street and help existing ones stabilize their financial situation and provide technical and marketing assistance,” explains Mike Haberman, director of communications for the Chamber.

“As the title implies, this program is geared more towards the retail sector than it is to manufacturing or corporate. All the businesses are located on Fulton Street from Flatbush Avenue after the Fulton Mall District up to Saratoga Avenue and encompassing the neighborhoods of Ft. Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant,” Haberman notes.

“Many of these businesses need be trained in how to properly market their business and some need to be urged to relocate as opposed to have them close their stores, which some might do. We can advise them on budgeting and where to look for financing. Mortgages through the US Small Business Administration and Fleet are two financial sources that will be available,” he says.Other organizations involved include the Bogolan Merchants Association, the Central Brooklyn Partnership and the Business Outreach Center.

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