Tremont business group throws some (holiday) lights on growth plan

Members of a Tremont business group working to become an official city business improvement district showcased their efforts this month with a holiday tree lighting.

The Tremont Business & Community Organization (TBCO) hopes to form the first ever BID for residents and business owners along the busy E. Tremont Avenue commercial strip.

It held the tree lighting in the heart of the shopping strip, with members, merchants and local electeds attending and joining in caroling and toy give-aways.

Chase Manhattan Bank hosted the Dec. 7 event at their branch office at E. Tremont and Arthur Avenue, and were among the local businesses that contributed the toys to the neighborhood kids and the holiday lights.

“It’s important during this season to encourage shopping in the Bronx,” said TBCO Chair Radame Perez, a businessman and community activist who founded the organization.

“You don’t have to travel to Manhattan to shop; buy your holiday gifts, food, any item, right here,” he said. “This is the place with the good deals. And you’re supporting your Bronx neighborhood store.”

Perez has been rumored to be gearing up a campaign to run for the City Council. He challenged incumbent local City Councilman Joel Rivera for his seat in 2009, then dropped out of the running.

With a large campaign warchest still remaining and Rivera term-limited out of office at the end of next year, Perez has been rumored to again be weighing a run for the seat.

Considered one of the largest and busiest commercial corridors in the city, Tremont Avenue has undergone in the past several years a seismic shift in population growth and an increase in commercial activity.

“Our challenge here has always been to try to meet the demands of the neighborhood market, which really means being able to properly serve a growing and vibrant community of residents,” said Perez.

Formed in 2006 as a 501-c3 nonprofit comprised of local business owners and residents from the Bathgate and East Tremont neighborhoods, Perez said the organization’s aim is to assist local storeowners to engage with residents and to help attract support from local and city officials.

The group has focused most of its energy lately in advocating the New York City Department of Small Business Services for a business improvement district contract, garnering grant money that would provide for street clean-up and other commercial revitalization projects.

“This BID will mean the world to every storeowner and resident,” said Perez. “It will be a shot in the arm for this neighborhood and a clear recognition from the Mayor’s office that our gain is the city’s gain.”

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