HAMMOND—Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the Hammond Downtown Development District has been a beehive of activity as executive director Chelsea Tallo Little and her team have been awarded nearly $8,500 in grants to promote and improve downtown Hammond.
Little said the most recent grant is a Main Street Community Support Grant which was put to good use on Wednesday, as DDD employees shared a bounty of cleaning supplies and masks with local merchants.
The grant allowed the DDD to purchase disinfectant, sanitizers, and bleach. “All the expensive things we need to run our business right now, and we are so proud we will be able to pass them around to all the businesses downtown,” board member Bryan Wong said in a post on social media.
The grant is valued at $1,330, but in a true show of partnership, Hammond’s local Home Depot donated almost double the supplies that the DDD was able to purchase. As a result, Little estimates more than $3,400 in products will be shared by DDD members in this disbursement.
Little said this is just one example of the kinds of grants the DDD has obtained over the last few weeks. In addition to the Main Street Community Support Grant, the DDD has received $3,000 from the Louisiana Healthy Community Coalition. Originally designed to fund the district’s “Better Block Project,” which was postponed due to COVID-19, the mini great will now be used to install bike racks throughout downtown Hammond. Little said the racks will be positioned in six locations across the downtown area and provide parking for three dozen bikes for visitors to the district.
The district also received a $3,000 grant from the Louisiana Healthy Community Coalition to launch their online portal for the Hammond Farmers Market. Little said the grant “was important during the stay at home order (so) our community (could) have access to fresh local produce” without having to risk going to the store. The online store remains active in Phase II, and customers can easily order their produce online during the week and pick it up curbside on market days.
The DDD is also a recipient of the Louisiana Cultural District Recognition Award, which provides a $1,000 grant to purchase a program called Locable to provide free online and marketing tools to every business in the DDD.
“There are lots of things moving and shaking in Downtown Hammond these days! We’ve been working hard to keep our business afloat during this time and make sure Hammond stands out in the crowd when the Louisiana Office of Tourism rolls out its staycation campaign encouraging Louisiana residents to stay in the state for their vacations,” Little said.
(Photos courtesy of Hammond Downtown Development District Facebook page)