With the great success of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) in Ridgewood, the store owners on the commercial shopping strip in Glendale want to see that success transfer down their way.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley invited local shop owners, residents and interested parties along Glendale’s stretch of Myrtle Avenue to her district office in Atlas Park to take part in a re-envisioning session with Ted Renz, director of the Myrtle Avenue BID, representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Queens Chamber of Commerce on Friday, May 13, to find out what they would like to see happen to their portion of Myrtle Avenue.
“This meeting is really about bringing more resources to the businesses along Myrtle Avenue who are not in the Business Improvement District,” Crowley said at the meeting. “The Business Improvement District currently is a real resource to the Ridgewood community. But it is outside my district and a lot of business owners along Myrtle Avenue have said, ‘Why can’t we extend everything that is good that’s happening over in the Ridgewood section into the Glendale area of Myrtle Avenue?’”
Crowley announced that there is $400,000 in DOT funds earmarked for improving Myrtle Avenue in Glendale with capital projects.
“We want to make Myrtle Avenue more of a place for our local Glendale residents and people from Queens to want to come, get there easily, be interested in walking around and staying, and just having an overall pleasant experience,” Crowley said.
Business and property owners’ suggestions for how the $400,000 could be used to improve the commercial strip in Glendale included the following:
- Benches and street seating;
- Improved signage and crosswalks for pedestrians;
- Bus shelters and countdown clocks;
- CitiBike and bike racks;
- Environmental upgrades such as namesake trees and increased sanitation pickup;
- Technology improvements for the corridor, such as Link NYC free Wi-Fi hubs and installing traffic cameras;
- And more cultural street events and networking events for the businesses.
One major concern brought up by the business owners at the meeting was the amount of vacant storefronts along Myrtle Avenue in Glendale and what could be done to fill them.
“As we start thinking about what we can do to improve Myrtle Avenue, I think the key question is how do you bring other business to Myrtle Avenue,” said Michael Shiwdin, owner of Mahalo Bakery on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale. “Because it can be a beautiful and clean area, and on a relative basis I think it is, but if there’s no stores for people to come to and make it an attraction then it will never improve in the long run.”
Having a BID for the Glendale section of Myrtle Avenue — from Fresh Pond Road to approximately 86th Street — would put the business and property owners in charge of projects and events that happen there, which would entice more businesses to open up shop there.
“I think we had a good number [of people who showed up] and great feedback and solid ideas,” Crowley said. “We have a plan in place to do the first steps.”
Crowley announced that she will be holding more meetings to get even more feedback from the community and to finalize a plan to see if a BID would be appropriate for the Glendale portion of Myrtle Avenue.