Square BID inches closer to approval

The City Council Finance Committee voted unanimously in favor of making the Westchester Square Business Improvement District the city’s 67th BID.

In a unanimous 15-0 vote on Tuesday, January 3, the City Council Finance Committee voted for the Westchester Square Steering Committee’s plans for the creation of the BID in the Square’s shopping district.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca was elated that the Westchester Square BID is one step away from being a reality, and he said that the entire City Council will vote on it during the second stated meeting of the Council in February.

“The Finance Committee vote is the next to last step before final approval of the Westchester Square BID,” Vacca said. “After several years of hard work, the end is now in sight, and I expect the entire Council to approve the BID at the February meeting.”

Merchants, landlords and members of the Westchester Square BID steering committee testified before the City Council Finance Committee on Monday, October 17, with no opposition to the creation of the BID being voiced during that hearing, said Westchester Square Merchants Association program director Joseph Regina.

The Finance Committee’s unanimous approval speaks to the widespread support that the BID has from landlords, the community, and business owners, said BID steering Committee chairman John Bonizio.

“I think that this vote recognizes the fact that a business improvement district for Westchester Square is an important initiative for the overall economic development for the north east Bronx,” Bonizio said. “It is also an indication of the fact that property owners in this district voted overwhelmingly to support the BID. The vote shows that the people who work and live here are interested in moving the area forward.”

A downward economic spiral that brought some blight and decay to the area will be reversed, and the future of Westchester Square will be one of economic vitality, Bonizio stated.

A snafu where some notifications were hand-delivered to landlords instead of being mailed resulted in a second 30-day window of time where property owners can voice their opinions about the creation of the BID, Regina said. He believes that this is just a formality. The error was a result of a miscommunication between the Department of Small Business Services and the BID Steering Committee, Regina said.

“We have a 30-day objection period, and after that the full City Council will convene and vote,” Regina said. “Even though hand delivery is in many cases a more efficient method, the procedure has to go by the letter of the law.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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