The Throggs Neck Improvement District, a dream of the local business community, inched closer to becoming a reality.
The effort to form a business improvement district along East Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck from Bruckner Boulevard to Miles Avenue had the second of its mandatory public hearings at Fort Schuyler House recently.
During the hearing on Thursday, June 23, John Bonizio, chairman of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, who along with Councilman James Vacca successfully spearheaded the creation of a BID several years ago, spoke on its behalf.
“We are not selling the BID, we are selling the future of Throggs Neck,” he said, adding that he sees the BID as a vehicle for the community to enjoy the economic vitality that is becoming increasingly evident throughout the borough.
A BID is an inexpensive investment that businesspeople can make in their own futures, he said, adding that it has important goals.
Among the goals are elevating the status and recognition of Throggs Neck as a destination place for consumers, and increasing foot traffic, said Bonizio.
He also said that this should not only make businesses more viable but also increase property values.
Vacca, a strong proponent of BIDs, has provided funding for years to study and support the creation of new BIDs in Throggs Neck and Morris Park.
The councilman said that he believes creating more BIDs will mean a better future for commercial corridors in his district, .
“I think BIDs mean better a future for all our commercial strips,” said Vacca. “They signify collaboration, involvement, commitment and investment.”
The challenge of creating a merchant association in Throggs Neck in part comes from the strength of its all-volunteer Throggs Neck Merchants Association, said Bonizio.
“The merchant association here is very strong and they are doing a lot of the work that a BID would be doing,” said Bonizio, adding all merchant associations are made of volunteers and that they move on or retire sooner or later.
The BID would add a sense of permanence, because money collected from the property owners would fund a district director and a range of services, which could include marketing and promotions, as well as graffiti cleanup and sanitation, explain supporters.
Steven Kaufman, TNMA president and a BID steering committee member, said that a Throggs Neck district would enhance the image of the community and is an investment in the future of the area.
“It will give them a united voice to express their concerns,” said Kaufman, adding that city and state agencies listen to BIDs. The BID itself is a governmental entity.
“It is really just a stupendous thing and I don’t think people can realize what can come of this,” he said.
Balloting for the proposed Throggs Neck BID’s creation, which polls landlords and merchants, is ongoing.
Property owners make up a majority of a BID’s board of directors. They have to agree to an assessment that funds the BID’s operations.