I just posted the City’s press release on our new Economic Development Team: Economic Development Team Hits the Ground Running [Press Release].
Is this basically the beginning of a Business Improvement District?
From Wikipedia: A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax or fee in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries.
….BIDs provide services, such as cleaning streets, providing security, making capital improvements, construction of pedestrian and streetscape enhancements, and marketing the area. The services provided by BIDs are supplemental to those already provided by the municipality.
On the possibility of a BID: While I’m sure our local businesses are paying enough, I have no doubt in my mind that a BID will benefit them immensely. Yes, I’m an advocate of BIDs. I’ve seen so many downtowns across Long Island improve because of BIDS. Look at Franklin Ave & Seventh Street in Garden City. Look at the Huntington downtown or what Post Avenue in Westbury is currently going through (yes, it’s better than it was). Bedford Avenue in Bellmore is another example. Pretty much every downtown in the Hamptons has a BID as well as most parts of Manhattan & Brooklyn (both going through an ongoing renaissance. check this out).
BIDs will set a beautification style, enforce it and get it done. This infrastructure-beautification ultimately helps all the local businesses, which is something both our downtowns need help with. I know nothing about Beech Street, but I feel like the main commercial area on Park is losing its character more and more every year. Red tile roofs are being replaced by plain ones. Red roofs and facade tile are being painted over with colors that don’t match well. New buildings are going up with cheap looking fucco (fake stucco) that sags, tears and stains. Our sidewalks are gross with lard stains and could be nicer. We could use some pedestrian lighting so it’s not so dark and scary at night. BIDs can bring all of this. They can transform our downtown into a place where you’d want to be more and more. Yes, it will cost a few bucks, but it’s an investment.
I know nothing about some of the members of this team, but I am glad to see Sustainable Long Island on board. I’ve been following those folks for years and they are very impressive. I can’t wait to see what this new team does for our downtowns.