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CRA approves changes to business grant program hoping to revive the Historic Northwest District 

Posted at 7:20 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 04:34:17-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla.  — The West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is working to make it easier for business owners to invest in the Historic Northwest District.

In a unanimous vote, Monday the CRA board approved changes to the Merchant Assistance Program. An incentive program to keep businesses in the area.

On 10 Street and Tamarind Avenue in West Palm Beach, Al Williams says he’s figured out a recipe for success.

“If you got good food and good clientele, it doesn’t bother you,” he said. 

Williams is the owner of 10th and Soul one of the few restaurants in the Historic Northwest District.

“Average on a 100, 150, (customers) seriously on the weekends it’s probably a 150 to 200,” he said. 

Williams says he decided to relocate to 10th Street a couple of years ago when he saw a need for food and fun in this area.

“It’s not a lot of shops and restaurants. It’s limited very few,” Williams told WPTV.

Now, change to the Community Redevelopment Agency’s Merchant Assistance Program could attract more businesses to the area. Changes include eliminating the three-year business minimum and increasing the maximum grant amount from $15,000 to $25,000.

“I think the potential is great,” Orville Lawton said. 

Lawton says he grew up in the neighborhood and remembers a time when it thrived.

“We had our own dentist, we had pharmacies and they were all black-owned,” he said. 

Lawton and Williams are hoping in this case history repeat itself.

“You know I just would like to see this area build up because when I was a kid this whole street was vibrant and full of black businesses,” Lawton said.