The Westchester Square Business Improvement District was approved by the full New York City Council in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, February 29.
The council voted 48-0 with no abstentions to approve the a BID for the Square. The vote comes on the heals of a unanimous 15-0 vote by the City Council’s Finance Committee on Tuesday, January 3.
The vote made the BID the ninth in the borough. Mayor Bloomberg signed the bill creating the BID into law on Wednesday, March 7.
The approval of the BID is the culmination of work by Councilman Jimmy Vacca and John Bonizio, chairman of the Westchester Square BID steering committee, that began with a meeting in his Vacca’s office shortly after he took office in 2006, Vacca said.
“Since I became Councilman in 2006, I worked hard with Westchester Square community leaders in making sure that the dream of creating a BID would become a reality,” Vacca said. “This is another big step in revitalizing Westchester Square. The BID will allow local merchants to further transform this community into a truly bustling commercial center.”
The BID would have a full time staff to support the Westchester Square business community, Bonizio said. This includes help with sanitation services, beautification projects, and business development.
Bonizio said he was grateful to all of the people who have helped to make the BID a reality.
“I would like to thank all of the people who helped make this possible; without their tireless efforts the formation of this BID would never be possible,” Bonizio said. “I would also like to thank Councilman Vacca, whose vision and foresight for this BID was what got this process off of the ground. It has now become a model of what we believe can be expanded to other parts of the Bronx to help merchants and business people regain the process that will encourage economic growth in our corridors for years to come.”
The BID should serve as a template for his efforts through the Bronx Chamber of Commerce to help other areas form active merchants associations and encourage the development of still more Business Improvement Districts in the borough, including on the lower Morris Park Avenue commercial corridor, Bonizio stated. Westchester Square Merchants Association programming director Joe Regina, who was the driving force behind the day-to-day operations of the BID Steering Committee, will be assisting in other BID efforts, Bonizio stated.
The creation of the Westchester Square BID should have a positive ripple effect beyond the commercial corridor, enhancing surrounding residential communities, said Westchester Square Merchants Association president Greg Perry.
The creation of the Westchester Square BID was a topic in Borough President Diaz’s third “State of the Borough Address,” which he gave at Harry S. Truman High School on Thursday, February 23.
“I am extremely happy to hear that today the City Council has approved the establishment of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District,” Diaz stated. “As I mentioned in my recent “State of the Borough,” my administration has thrown its support behind this BID and its commitment to make this area a premier shopping district. Westchester Square is one of the most important commercial strips in the Bronx, and each day it brings thousands of residents, students, and visitors to its confines to shop, eat, and converse with their neighbors.”