Supporters say BID expansion would improve quality of life

Supporters say BID expansion would improve quality of life
Photo by Bianca Fortis
By Bianca Fortis

A proposal to expand the 82nd Partnership in Corona and Jackson Heights could greatly improve street conditions in the vibrant shopping district, the head of the organization says.

“It would be a comprehensive, holistic approach to address quality-of-life issues in the community,” according to Seth Taylor., the executive director.

The Partnership, founded in 1990, covers 82nd Street from 37th Avenue to Baxter Avenue. If approved, the expansion would be called the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District. It would include Roosevelt Avenue from 81st Street to 104th Street, as well as Junction Boulevard from 35th Avenue to 40th Road.

Taylor said the BID expansion will be a way to curb the crime, litter and graffiti that currently plague the community.

“These are quality-of-life issues,” he said. “The offenses are widespread all along Roosevelt Avenue.”

If the proposal passes, businesses would not be able to opt out of participation. The majority of commercial property owners would be assessed an average annual fee of $900, which they can pass on to their tenants.

Residential property owners who live within the district boundaries would be assessed a fee of $1 per year.

Ballots will be mailed in October to residential and commercial property owners who fall within the district lines. Each property owner will have the opportunity to vote whether to expand or not. Should the proposal pass, the district expansion is expected to take place in late 2014.

Those fees would add up to a budget of about $860,000, which would be invested back into the community. The funds would be used for services such as graffiti removal and supplemental sanitation, Taylord said. The district would be governed by a board of directors who would be voted in by the participating businesses.

But not all of the small business owners who would be part of the district currently support it.

Earlier in the month a group of about 20 people, under the name Roosevelt Avenue Community Alliance, rallied against the proposal, saying it would lead to increased rent and taxes and would displace immigrant-owned businesses. They also contended it would encourage chain stores to move into the neighborhood.

But Taylor said the BID expansion would actually support and strengthen local business.

“This is 100 percent about preserving small and immigrant-owned businesses,” he said. “It’s a small business survival strategy.”

Within the current district boundaries, almost 75 percent of businesses are mom-and-pop shops, Taylor said.

He said BID proponents are taking all the concerns seriously and have done outreach in the community.

“We understand that not everyone is going to agree with or support this,” he said. “But we want to make sure everyone has the facts and information they need to make an informed decision.”

Anyone with questions about the BID expansion can check the Partnership’s website, jhcoronabid.org. They can also call 718-335-9421 or email [email protected].

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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