One local business improvement district has gotten some attention from city hall.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer visited the Westchester Square BID on Monday, August 4, to meet with business leaders and tour the neighborhood.
Stringer said he was impressed with the 2-year-old BID’s knowledge and vision of the neighborhood.
“It’s really great to see a BID that has the pulse of the community,” said Stringer. “The leadership understands the economic challenges of the neighborhood and the potential of the community.”
Stringer said it’s important to him to get out into communities and see how things function on the neighborhood level. He said his interest in small businesses is part of his role of the comptroller, or “auditor in chief” to root out waste and fraud within the city.
“When you’re doing that well, you protect small business,” said Stringer.
He said he also wants to foster cooperation and communication between city agencies and business communities.
“We’ve got to create partnerships that are ready to face the challenges of local business,” said Stringer.
The meeting and tour served as an introduction of the neighborhood to the comptroller, and members of the BID’s board of directors said they are looking forward to a continued relationship with the comptrollers office.
Board chairman John Bonizio said that one of the issues the BID wants to discuss is the need to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of infrastructure and other elements in a rising borough.
“It is our hope that by bringing to the attention of the comptroller issues that require foresight in our borough we will be able to control the economic boom,” said Bonizio.
A more specific problem Bonizio would like to see addressed is the use of parking spaces in the neighborhood by various government agencies. He said the vehicles take parking spaces from the customers of local business and are not ticketed by traffic enforcement issues, losing revenue for the city as well as the businesses.
“They’re robbing from the city of New York,” said Bonizio.
The parking issue is just one subject the BID plans to bring up with the comptroller’s office in the future.
BID executive director Lisa Sorin said they are grateful for the initial visit and the opportunity of continued communication.
“We’re happy the door has been opened and we can submit suggestions and ideas to the comptroller,” said Sorin. “When City Hall takes an interest in an area like ours that is trying to revitalize, it means a lot to us.”