White Plains BID makes strides- Annual Report

The White Plains Road Business Improvement is strong, so says it’s new executive director.

“We’re definitely in the upswing,” bolstered Joe Thompson, a retired police detective and lifelong Pelham Parkway resident.

Thompson, who officially took over running the BID in July, released its annual report to board members on Nov. 14, with some positive results – including an uptick in advertising revenue to higher exposure during Fiscal Year 2011.

He credited last year’s accomplishments to his predecessor, the late Larry Prospect, a longtime local merchant and BID leader.

“We want to enhance the things Larry’s done,” Thompson said.

One of those continuing policies is the BID’s shared advertising program, where property owners divide TV ad costs with the near 20-year-old group.

The BID’s annual net assets have jumped from $1,793 in 2011 to $4,309 in 2012.

There has also been a number of new stores on White Plains Road – The Children’s Place, a 7-11 grocery store and Brow’s Precise – adding to the 88 businesses along the bustling commercial strip, a mix of mom and pops and big chains.

The new businesses are certainly a good sign of Pelham Parkway’s resurgence, said Thompson.

He noted the neighborhood’s decline over a decade ago when high-end stores closed down.

The lowpoint came in 1995 with crazed would-be robber Michael Vernon randomly killing five people inside Little Chester’s Shoes.

“It spurred some of the old-timers and established families to leave,” said Thompson.

Eventually, new immigrants revived the family-friendly nabe, drawing in new retailers.

The BID benefits from convenient mass transit, with bus and train services available for shoppers. Out-of-towners rely on Westchester County’s Beeline Bus Service that runs along Bronx Park East.

But while the BID’s finances hold steady, the report focused on a rise in litter, dirty sidewalks, canopies and graffiti tags.

With the BID’s low six-figure budget limiting him, Thompson said “I’m trying to get someone to give us the dollars to clean the canopies. “I’d like to see all the storefronts cleaned.”

For now, Thompson acts like a beat cop, patrolling the strip, keeping an eye on quality-of-life issues.

“I’m of the mind,” he said, “that a healthy business strip makes for a better community.”

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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