College Point Corporate Park businesses say money is wasted

By Madina Toure

The city Economic Development Corporation is exploring different options that would enable businesses in the College Point Corporate Park to have more of a say in how the park’s funds are being used.

About 50 businesses in the College Point Corporate Park — a 550-acre office park with more than 200 companies and 6,000 employees — are required to pay into the park’s improvement fund. The fund finances the park’s management and maintenance program as well as business assistance training, beautification projects, such as tree planting, cleanups and signage, and capital improvements.

But the businesses contend that the money is not being used efficiently. Over the last 20 years, the fund has accumulated roughly $5 million, said Vito Tautonico, director of constituent services for City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).

“The big issue is that 50 or so of the businesses that are in the corporate park are mandated by the deeds to pay into the improvement fund every year and a lot of businesses were very upset that they weren’t seeing any improvements,” Tautonico said at a recent College Point Civic & Taxpayers Association meeting. “They’re essentially paying a tax that did nothing for them.”

The options being considered include the creation of a business improvement district, a board of directors, an advisory board or a nonprofit made up of the businesses, the EDC, community members and members of Community Board 7.

“Conceptually, everyone’s on the same page — they want to do something,” said Chuck Apelian, co-chairman of the College Point Corporate Park Taskforce and first vice chairman of Community Board 7.

Businesses are required to pay one-eighth of the assessed value of their property into an improvement fund, which is intended to use the money for beautification purposes. They pay about $10,000 to $20,000 or so per year, Tautonico said.

On Nov. 25, EDC representatives, CB 7 members, College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association members, a representative from the 28th Avenue Homeowners Association and a city Department of Transportation representative met to discuss the issue.

The EDC representative said they need to have more meetings and determine the appropriate structure of the group that would be in charge of collecting and allocating the money, according to Diane Kovach, co-chair of the Zone and Land Use committee of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association.

“They want to reach all the businesses in the corporate park,” Kovach said.

The EDC was not available for comment.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour‌e@cng‌local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.