Vacant funeral home to get facelift as Mount Rainier revives gateway

Mount Rainier officials are hoping to brighten up a funeral home in the city — literally.

The former Dudley Funeral Home, at 3200 Rhode Island Ave., is part of a 33,000-square-foot property the city purchased in 2009. Officials say the vacant three-story building is the first structure commuters from Washington, D.C., see when they enter the city, and they say it doesn’t reflect the energy of the arts-focused community.

As a result, officials announced Feb. 29 a request for development proposals for the site. In the best-case scenario, officials say groundbreaking on the selected proposal would not start until 2014 at the earliest.

“We want to transform it from vacancy to vibrancy,” said Brooke Kidd, executive director of Joe’s Movement Emporium, a performing arts center that has been involved in community beautification programs.

The city plans to renovate all of the vacant properties from 3200 to 3208 Rhode Island Avenue.

As part of the city’s second Better Block Project to revitalize the area, Mount Rainier would provide $4,000 that would go toward painting the funeral home building white and adding an artistic, multicultural design, which has been selected, on the sides that face Eastern and Rhode Island avenues.

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