By Rebecca Henely
Community Board 2 is exploring options for creating a business improvement district for Woodside, although consensus has not been reached on what such an organization may look like.
“We think this would be a good step forward for Woodside,” said CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley.
The chairman said the board is interested in seeing a BID formed to bring services to the neighborhood’s commercial strips, such as graffiti removal, street-sweeping, keeping trash cans neat, security and advertising opportunities.
While City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) used his discretionary funding to provide sanitation to parts of Woodside through the Doe Fund, the board is interested in a more permanent solution.
“The businesses and residents of Woodside have been asking for something for a long time,” Conley said.
But the board is mulling over whether to create a full-blown BID or to build one under the city Department of Small Business Services’ BID Express program. Meredith Weber, spokeswoman for the department, said the program is geared toward smaller commercial corridors that do not necessarily require a full-blown BID.
“There’s no executive director,” Weber said. “It’ll be more of a centralized model in terms of the administrative costs.”
Conley said since the other two neighborhoods that CB 2 serves have organizations equivalent to BIDs — Sunnyside Shines and the Long Island City Partnership — it makes sense that Woodside should have one, either regular or express, as well.
“There’s a chance for beautification projects, so there’s many opportunities,” he said.
The BID would cover parts of Roosevelt and Woodside avenues and 61st Street.
Woodside activist David Rosasco said while he was not inherently opposed to the idea of a BID and that sanitation and graffiti removal was needed in the community, he was worried that the assessments businesses would have to pay could be a hardship.
“I don’t want to see our businesses pay another fee for a service that should be provided for the city,” he said.
Rosasco said he was also worried because only a few businesses have showed up at the meetings to create the BID. He said the organization would need the support of the business community and that some BIDs have failed while other commercial strips have fared well without one.
“They should consider what they’re really trying to get at with the business improvement district,” he said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.