Downtown Jamaica Partnership BID hosts annual meeting, shares past and future projects for Jamaica

jamaica partnership
On Thursday, June 20, the Downtown Jamaica Partnership BID hosted their annual meeting at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center.
Photo by Athena Dawson

The Downtown Jamaica Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) held its annual meeting on Thursday, June 20.

The meeting was held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Ave., where directors of the BID, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin Kim gathered to give updates on ongoing and future projects in downtown Jamaica

The meeting started with a brief speech by Borough President Richards, who spoke about rezoning within the neighborhood.

Richards urged BID directors to participate in the process and use the rezoning to leverage housing opportunities. He shared that so far, he has secured a $62 million investment in the neighborhood from Mayor Adams. “You’re thinking about community facilities and infrastructure investment and then asking what we want to see improved in the community. The rezoning really gives you an opportunity to look at pockets of the community that have been historically disinvested,” he said. 

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards speaks at the annual BID meeting. Photo by Athena Dawson

Richards also shared that he will soon close a deal to build a new bus terminal on 165th Street, with $5 million in capital from his budget going towards the project. Furthermore, Richards spoke about public safety concerns. He shared that he recently met with the police commissioner, and additional police details will be placed within the community. “The number one way to get people to return to Jamaica is the safety element,” Richards said.

Richards also spoke about the Jamaica bus network and street vendors. He shared that the busway is a point of contention in the community, as many small business owners feel that it has hurt their revenue. Richards said that rezoning in the neighborhood will provide some changes to support business owners. Additionally, he shared that a successful pilot program for street vendors in Corona would be coming to Jamaica and other parts of the borough. 

Following Richards’ remarks, SBS Commissioner Kim congratulated the Downtown Jamaica Partnership BID on its merger over a year-and-a-half ago. “Since I’ve been in this role, we see what BIDs do daily throughout the city. This BID has been a model for what these partnerships can be all about,’’ Kim said. 

SBS Commissioner Kevin Kim congratulates the Downtown Jamaica Partnership BID members on their ongoing success. Photo by Athena Dawson

Kim shared that there is a record number of small businesses in the city, and one in six small businesses open today started during Mayor Adams’ administration. “We are now back from pre-pandemic levels, we’ve exceeded that, and we keep moving forward,” Kim said.

After Kim’s remarks, BID members voted to approve meeting minutes from last year’s meeting and elect directors. 

Downtown Jamaica Partnership BID President Whitney Barrat shares infrastructure updates. Photo by Athena Dawson

Whitney Barrat, president of the BID, shared that last summer, a new public open space was introduced in front of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. The public plaza has chairs, tables and flower planters for residents to enjoy. Additionally, the BID received $100,000 for a light-based art installation that was displayed earlier this year.

Barrat also shared that there are temporary barriers on 165th Street, with plans to make them permanent barriers and bring farmers’ markets to the space. “That type of street is really rare to come by in the city of New York. It’s a treasure, and we’re excited to take advantage of it,” she said.  Barrat also brought up the issue of illegal dumping, which has become a bigger issue due to street vendors. Additionally, Barrat shared a rendering of a new plaza, dubbed Station Plaza, that is north of the Jamaica Airtrain subway stop. The expected groundbreaking for the project is 2026.