Uniontown Bar & Grill was among the winners of city grants.
Uniontown Bar & Grill was among the winners of city grants.

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The District has awarded grants totaling $2.1 million to 29 D.C. small businesses, Mayor Vince Gray and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins announced this afternoon.

Grants of up to $85,000 were available, according to the website of the Great Streets Small Business Capital Improvement Program, whose aim is to “stimulate small business creation, expansion, and retention while also creating new job opportunities for District residents along Great Streets corridors and in surrounding areas.”

Eighteen awardees received the maximum amount, while P&G Counseling and Education Institute received a shade less, at $84,996.

Among the recipients was Uniontown Bar and Grill, which reopened this summer after it had closed last year following its then-owner’s conviction for drug smuggling. According to the press release from the mayor’s office, Uniontown will be using its grant funds to overhaul its second floor due to “increasing client demand for additional seating.”

The Historic Anacostia hotspot was one of eight restaurants and restaurant groups to whom Gray and his economic staff awarded funding. Five salons and spas were also among the winners.

DC Dragons Martial Arts Center on Rhode Island Avenue NE, which received a $69,500 grant, played host to Gray’s Monday unveiling. Owner and instructor Robert McDuffie says DC Dragons will use the government funding toward aesthetic renovations, including giving the center a fresh coat of paint.

“That was very pleasing to me,” says McDuffie, who notes that he had been trying to secure government help for several years. “We had completed the documentation that we went needed to complete, and everything went OK today. Much better than OK.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery