The Westchester Square Business Improvement District, a hope and wish of many merchants, inched one step closer to becoming a reality.
Community Board 10’s economic development committee voted to unanimously approve the formation of a business improvement district in the Square after a presentation by merchant leader John Bonizio at the Hutchinson Metro Center on Tuesday, March 29.
A vote in favor of forming a BID, which is being pushed by a consortium of property owners, business leaders, and elected officials, will be required from all the CB 10 at its next full meeting on Thursday, April 14, as part of a process that will ultimately go to the City Council and the mayor for approval.
“I was touched by the enthusiastic reception that we received,” Bonizio said. “It was a unanimous vote and I hope that carries over to the full community board meeting, where I expect there to be a unanimous vote also, and I think that this shows that people are in favor of making improvements not just to Westchester Square, but to the entire north Bronx.”
At the meeting, Bonizio stated that a BID, a public and private partnership, where the owners of the properties and businesses accept an increased real estate tax assessment by the city, that wouldgo into an escrow account to hire a professional manager and staff who should deliver supplemental services such as sanitation, maintenance, public safety, visitor services, marketing, promotional programs, capital improvements and beautification, should have an overall positive impact on the surrounding communities.
“A BID can provide consistent positive economic influence,” Bonizio stated. “Such consistency is difficult to achieve with the Westchester Square Merchants Association which is staffed and funded by volunteers.”
CB 10 board members present at the meeting agreed.
“We want to see the BID established because we feel that it would be a great boon for the northeast Bronx,” said CB 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns. “It certainly would stabilize the area and allow it to grow in the future.”
Forming a BID could help transform the Westchester Square area into a hub of activity, said board member Andrew Chirico.
It could also be helpful in making the arts an even greater attraction in the Square especially since the Bronx Council on the Arts opened their new headquarters at 2700 E. Tremont Avenue on Monday, April 4.
According to current plans, the boundaries of the BID would extend from Westchester Avenue to Bronx Honda on E. Tremont Avenue and along Williamsbridge Road to Silver Street. It will also encompass Lane Avenue and all of the commercial property on the Square.