One east Bronx community’s effort to create a business improvement district is all but done, while another is moving forward after receiving a green light from local property owners and merchants.
The steering committee creating a business improvement district in Throggs Neck reports that it has received “overwhelming support” from local property owners and merchants, and is now moving onto the legislative phase of the BID creation process, according to two key committee members.
A similar effort in Morris Park is all but complete after it was approved by the NYC Council in December.
A review of the BID’s preliminary finances by the New York City comptroller’s office and the mayor’s signature are the only remaining punchlist items, said Joe Regina, a former consultant for the Throggs Neck and Morris Park BID efforts.
There are 75 BIDs already operating in New York City, according to the NYC Department of Small Business Services.
The Throggs Neck BID steering committee is now sending its paperwork to the SBS, and has selected steering committee members Bob Jaen and Steve Kaufman, current and former Throggs Neck Merchants Association presidents respectively, to be their representatives during the legislative approval process.
Jaen and Kaufman will be providing testimony to SBS, NYC Council and the mayor’s office on the would-be BID, that will include businesses along East Tremont Avenue from Bruckner Boulevard to Miles Avenue, said Jaen.
“We pushed and pushed and we came through,” said Kaufman about getting support among commercial property and business owners.
The drift of the Throggs Neck BID’s steering committee’s argument will be that there is overwhelming support for the BID’s ratification, the Throggs Neck shopping strip is surrounded by other BIDs, and there is a desire to upgrade the retail mix of shops to better serve the shoppers, said Kaufman.
Kaufman said that without a BID, certain types of businesses would not locate in the community, affecting the retail mix.
He also said that community businesses need a BID executive director to help them navigate the city’s bureaucracy.
“The neighborhood needs its own director because dealing with City Hall and other government agencies can be like going through a hornet’s nest,” said Kaufman, adding that with a BID there would be a paid employee to help merchants in a variety of ways, including everything from marketing to governmental relations.
Jaen said that with the paperwork sent to SBS, it is up to the city to schedule hearings on the Throggs Neck BID, adding it is going to “go through and we are going to get it done.”
“The people representing the Morris Park BID worked very hard to get to where they are, and we are hoping to follow them and also have good news for the Throggs Neck community sometime in the next six to eight months hopefully,” said Jaen.
Al D’Angelo, a steering committee member for the Morris Park BID and Morris Park Community Association’s president, said that he believes the BID will create a better retail selection, curbing the number of repetitive stores such as nail salons, which are prevalent because of their high profit margins.
The BID, which encompasses Morris Park Avenue between Unionport and Willamsbridge roads, will include 188 existing businesses, according to a previous Bronx Times article.
“It is a done deal,” said D’Angelo, adding that the BID will have a say as to what kinds of businesses site in the community and will market existing businesses.
Small businesses need all the help they can get, indicated D’Angelo.
“It is very difficult for a small business to compete with mega stores and malls, parking being one of the biggest drawbacks,” said D’Angelo.
He would like to see a trolley operate along the BID’s corridor to transport shoppers and bring a hometown feeling to the strip.
The BID will eliminate the need to have volunteers from the MPCA go door to door to collect money for the annual holiday lights along Morris Park Avenue, said D’Angelo.
In the future, the BID’s director will handle Christmas lights and promotions, much the same way nearby Westchester Square and White Plains Road BIDs operate, he said.
According to SBS’s website, BID programs are funded by an assessment billed to property owners that are unique to each BID and decided upon by each BID’s board of directors.
Addendum: The Morris Park BID is now law, making it the 75th BID operating in New York City. The state comptrollers office is currently reviewing the BID’s strategy as is required.
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