A new community initiative is spotlighting local businesses and nonprofits in and around Rego Park. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.
If you ask Rego Park resident Yvonne Shortt, it takes a village to make a community shine
"In order for the commercial corridors to thrive, we need volunteers, we need non-profits, we need small businesses and we need just people to care about the community," said Shortt, the founder of RPGA Studio.
RPGA Studio is a nonprofit using art and technology to drive community involvement.
Recently, the group launched the Go 29 initiative to help bring attention to small businesses within the 29th Council District. That includes Rego Park, Forest Hills, Briarwood, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.
"Mom and pop shops just really add value. They change the character of a neighborhood. They are a meeting space for people to come together," said Lisa Yma, community builder for Go 29.
The initiative includes an artist magazine spotlighting local volunteers, businesses and artwork.
The group also plans to purchase gift cards from restaurants to hand out to residents, encouraging them to try a new place.
For Sami Toujani, who just opened Roast n Co on Queens Boulevard last month, it's great news. He also lives in Rego Park and says he appreciates community members working together.
"They try to come together and accomplish things and make the neighborhood better for everyone else," Toujani said.
There's also a plan in the works to bring some local artwork to Roast n Co to brighten up the blank walls.
"Where they can display their art, get people to come in and talk about it and see what they have to offer," said Toujani.
Next up for Go 29 is a community building day Saturday, where people can stop by and build a virtual reality booth out of super-sized Legos.
"We're going to use virtual reality head gear, and people are going to be able to see a video about the New York State Pavilion and reimagining it," said Shortt.
For more information, head to facebook.com/go290.