Efforts to create a Business Improvement District in Westchester Square recently received a sizeable shove to success through a $25,000 BID Formation Grant from the New York City Department of Small Business Services.
Designed to the further the efforts of the BID that’s currently underway in the area, Westchester Square Merchant’s Association president John Bonizio said the monies will provide much assistance in addressing key community issues such as safety, security and sanitation.
“Those are our primary objectives,” he explained.
Also on the agenda is a large-scale graffiti removal program, which Bonizio said would help increase the Square’s appeal to prospective merchants and consumers alike.
“We’re going to have people fighting to come in here,” he commented about what in time will be the complete transformation of Westchester Square, physically and economically.
Also believing in the area’s ability to once again be a shopping oasis for the surrounding community, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, through the City Council, awarded a $5,000 grant for administrative, operating and business development costs associated with establishing the BID.
“We will be using that money to put together a prospectus for property owners to give them complete details on how we plan to execute the BID process,” Bonizio explained.
“This is a grassroots project and to me it’s exciting,” the equally eager Vacca added, “I think the Square has such untapped potential.”
But instead of complaining about what’s currently wrong with the Square, the councilman further explained that concerned residents must offer suggestions for change, such as they did in the recent Westchester Square Needs Assessment Survey, and step forward to help make such visions a reality, because only though extensive community contribution can and will such efforts be attained.
“I’ve shown I’m willing to put resources behind my words and I think once we do these things it will encourage economic development in the Square,” Vacca commented.
Among the neighborhood’s greatest needs, Bonizio said, is a well-established community center – a place for residents young and old to come and actively engage with their neighbors in a safe, welcoming space.
Vacca said, with the appropriate amount of financial support, anything is possible.
“We have a nucleus and we have ideas but we need the City’s help,” he said.
Bonizio said through the help of Vacca’s office and Community Board 10, current efforts are underway to transform some of the concrete patches surrounding the Square into green spaces.
For further information on upcoming projects, or to get involved, contact Bonizio at (718) 597-6162 Ext. 113.
©2008 Community News Group