The Southern Boulevard Business Improvement District has a new leader at its helm. In the beginning of the month it introduced south Bronx resident Miles Burnett, as its next executive director.
Burnett, the former director of communications for Councilman Andrew Cohen, will represent the BID that encompasses 150 stores along the shopping strip from East 167th to East 169th street.
For the past year Mike Brady of the 3rd Ave BID temporarily ran the BID after the previous director, Marquis Payne, was let go.
Burnett, 27, who resides in Port Morris, is ready to make a difference in the community.
“I think the Bronx deserves the best,” Burnett said. “People need to see what we are.”
Burnett grew up in Binghamton and fell in love with acting at a young age. He went to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA, with hopes of being on the big stage.
But when he moved to the city, he quickly realized it was not for him and transitioned to politics and organizing.
“That’s what really brought me to NYC to be a star,” he said.
From 2016 to 2017 he served as the project manger for Working Families Party in Long Island, where he was the liaison between various political campaigns and Working Families Party directors.
“It was an exciting time,” he recalled. “It taught me about organizing communities and coalition building.”
From February 2017 to March 2019 he was the business development coordinator of the Third Avenue BID and from March 2018 to December, was the director of communications for Councilman Cohen.
In Cohen’s office, he worked with many different organizations, BIDs and agencies, which prepared him for his new role.
Burnett looks forward to his new position and told the Bronx Times the high vacancy rate and lack of diversity on Southern Boulevard is something he wants to address. He noted that a strong successful BID could lead to funding, which will hopefully help beautify Southern Boulevard.
“We need to build confidence in local commercial corridors so that they will meet the needs of the people who live there,” he said. “The lack of diversity with our small businesses is definitely a result of things like Internet shopping, the prices of rent going up and the prices of labor going up. That makes it very hard for ‘mom and pop’ businesses to stay afloat.”
He has begun meeting with businesses and hopes to establish a firm presence in the community soon. As neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens are slowly being revitalized, Burnett stressed it’s time for those in the Bronx to do the same.
“If I can maximize the amount of time people are spending in the commercial corridor that is good for business owners and that’s good for the community,” he said. “The Bronx is in a renaissance of organizing and getting coalitions together.”