The formation of a business improvement district in Throggs Neck has reached a crucial phase.
The leaders of the Throggs Neck BID effort, including local business leaders and consultant Joe Regina, said that three years of planning and paperwork has reached the outreach phase to landlords who play a pivotal role in deciding on its future.
About 137 letters were recently sent to property owners in the BID’s planned area, East Tremont Avenue between Miles Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard, said Regina.
Regina said that the effort has been helped along with funding secured in the city budget by Councilman James Vacca, a strong advocate of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District’s formation.
In order for a BID to be formed, landlords agree to pay an assessment fee to fund the budget for services to be provided, said Regina.
The money that’s collected goes directly back to the BID to pay for an employee to manage the district and for an array of services, he said.
In Throggs Neck business owners already have a lot going for them in that they have a strong all-volunteer organization, the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, said Regina.
“The TNMA is one of the best in the Bronx,” said Regina.
He feels that this illustrates why a BID is necessary, he said.
So far, the outreach has met with some apathy, said Steve Kaufman, TNMA president and a leader of the effort’s steering committee.
“Unfortunately, the apathy makes the outreach somewhat difficult,” said Kaufman. “Also, a lot of the landlord contact information is not accurate.”
Individual merchant members are reaching out to landlords, said Kaufman.
Kaufman is a strong supporter of the effort, and said when speaking of it: “we will never surrender, we want what’s best for the neighborhood.”
“Wherever there is a BID, the property values have gone up,” said Kaufman, who added that it would provide the merchants a full-time employee to assist them with ancillary but important functions.
Councilman Vacca said that he believes the BID effort is making progress, but that forming one takes a long time.
“I put money in the budget for a point person so that merchants can understand the process (and) we can develop the BID,” said Vacca, stressing that Regina has a lot of experience in merchant outreach going back decades.
TNMA vice-president Ed Angelino said he believes that the formation of a BID would provide merchants with a better link to city agencies and services.
Regina also said that the board of any BID must include representatives from the Department of Small Business Services, the local councilman, borough president and mayor’s office.
Needs Assessment Surveys for the proposed Throggs Neck BID have been collected from merchants, property owners, residents and consumers, the consultant said.
In Throggs Neck’s case, merchants could especially use a BID director who would assist with their annual holiday lights and toy drive and improve sanitation and marketing, he said.
The guidelines for forming a BID are outlined by NYC Small Business Services, said Regina, and involves many steps.