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Rhode Island Ave karate/dance studio among businesses awarded streetscape grants

D.C. Dragons picked up $69,500 from the city to renovate its facility

D.C. Dragons martial arts and dance studio picked up almost $70,000 to renovate its facility and improve its facade, co-owner Gale McDuffie confirms.

McDuffie and her husband have run the studio at 1731 Rhode Island Avenue NE since 1981, and the building's last renovation was around that time.

The family-owned business was one of 29 small businesses in the D.C. area that received a collective $2.1 million dollars to improve their facilities, make facade or streetscape improvements, or launch new ventures.

Gale McDuffie says the family plans to use the money to "just to give ourselves a facelift. People didn't know we were here. One, because there are two big trees in front of our building, and also, I guess, because we need some painting." The building was last renovated in 1984 or so. If the money stretches, they'll also upgrade the studio's restrooms and make other inside improvements.

The family business received another boost recently as it was the location where Mayor Vincent Gray, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins and Ward 5 councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (no relation to the studio owners) unveiled the full list of grantees.

"We're very, very happy to get the grant," Gale McDuffie adds. "This will put us on the map."

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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