The creation of a Morris Park Business Improvement District took a major step forward.
The BIDs steering committee announced on Wednesday, November 16 that after four years of outreach and planning, they reached the threshold of 51% approval from the owners of commercial properties and merchants who will comprise the district if it is ultimately approved.
According to the committee, they now have majority support from all 155 commercial properties and 297 businesses in the would-be BID’s service area: Morris Park Avenue between Williamsbridge and Unionport roads.
John Bonizio, the chairman of the Westhchester Square Business Improvement District, said he helped reformulate the Morris Park BID steering committee earlier in 2016 to get the project moving.
While not all the business and property owners responded, among those who did there was a 98% and 86% rate of approval respectively, said Bonizio.
“What that tells you is that the merchants recognize the value in having an advocate and a unified voice to deal with city agencies and elected officials, working together as one,” he said, adding that he sees a BID as an essential component to formulating a business plan for a commercial district.
The businessman said it was significant that the Morris Park Community Association provided support for the BID steering committee because Morris Park has been without a business association for some time.
The MPCA helped with logistical support and meeting space, he said.
Tony Signorile, MPCA president, said he was thankful to the business community, landlords, merchants and homeowners for their help in the effort. He said that the results exceed expectations in terms of speed.
Lisa Sorin, the executive director of the nearby Westchester Square Business Improvement District, said that the investment in the area spoke volumes about it’s future, which she indicated looked bright.
“What this means is that everyone agrees that Morris Park is an amazing place and that the commercial corridor is a huge value to the neighborhood,” she said.
Councilman James Vacca, who provided funding to the Morris Park BID steering committee for four years through different conduits, said that he believes BIDs enhance local commercial corridors and bring shoppers to areas. The councilman called the development ‘good news.’
“Morris Park is at the point where they will submit their paperwork to the city and ultimately it will come to the city council as a final step,” said Vacca.
The councilman added that he will provide guidance to the effort, which now must submit paperwork to the city before going to the NYC City Council, the mayor, and the state comptroller’s office.
“I go with what the merchants want and I see a majority of the merchants wanting this, so it is my focus.” Vacca said, adding “I think the possibilities are endless.”
William Pedone, owner of Van Nest True Value Hardware and chairman of the BID steering committee said that the BID would provide a unified voice for the community’s small businesses.
“Our primary goal is to revitalize the commercial corridor and provide an ongoing and consistent representation for the area,” he said.
A similar effort in Throggs Neck is also in progress.