Tag Archives: Jackson Heights–Corona BID

Some small business owners, residents continue to say ‘no’ to BID in Jackson Heights, Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The resistance continues.

During the first of two public meetings on Thursday, some Jackson Heights and Corona residents and business owners asked their community to vote no to the expansion that would bring a business improvement district to the neighborhood. They brought up issues which the BID would bring such as gentrification, and the rising of property costs and taxes.

“Right now they say $1,000 annually, once the project gets approved then a little bit more, a little bit more they squeeze one’s throat,” said Sergio Ruiz, a business owner of 15 years, about the estimated yearly cost per lot in the district.

The 82nd Street Partnership, a nonprofit group promoting the current local BID covering four blocks and over 160 businesses, announced last year it would be extending all the way through 114th  Street to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID. It was later revised to stretch from 82nd Street to 104th Street and down Junction Boulevard. The corridor will include a total of 440 lots and about 850 commercial tenants.

Tania Mattos, a member of the coalition Queens Neighborhoods United, said the group has been trying to educate the community on what a BID is, the voting process and options, and they have been cleaning Roosevelt Avenue every two weeks.

“Roosevelt Avenue does not need the BID,” Mattos said. “It needs the city to wake up, to realize it has neglected Roosevelt Avenue for decades and I’ve seen it personally. Instead the broken sidewalks, perishing and poorly maintained elevated train is blamed on the residents.”

According to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, the concept of the BID came from every community resident she had spoken to expressing concerns about the safety and cleanliness of Roosevelt Avenue.

“They want to be able to walk, they want to be able to shop, they want to be able to come with their families and contribute to the businesses,” Ferreras said. “We have a very different and very vibrant business corridor, we deserve better, we deserve to be able to have a business corridor that is vibrant, clean and safe.”

Other business owners at the meeting showed their support for the BID and tried to encourage audience members to vote yes.

“We have to give it a chance and give ourselves a chance,” said Rosita Cali, a business owner and Jackson Heights resident for 17 years. “Let’s give ourselves the room, the chance to have the opportunity to try this and also if something comes out wrong we have the right to say that it’s not right. But if we give the opportunity and this is positive, why not enjoy all the changes?”

In the upcoming weeks, business owners, residents and property owners on Roosevelt Avenue will have to vote on whether they want the BID in their community.

“The BID is really an advocate for the business community, the goal here is to improve the shopping environment, make it cleaner, safer, more inviting and better for the small business,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

For more information, visit JHCoronaBID.org.

 

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Op-ed: Making a BID for the Jackson Heights-Corona commercial corridor


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SETH BORNSTEIN

In Queens, we take tremendous pride in where we live, work and play. Whether we are in Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing or Jackson Heights, each community is unique with distinctive charms. Each neighborhood’s face is its commercial shopping district, where we buy goods, dine, stroll, and meet friends. It’s like going into “town” whether it’s around the corner from home or a bus ride away. The best commercial corridors are places we want to frequent; they are clean, safe and attractive and provide the goods and services we seek. We are fortunate that our borough has more than 100 of these strips.

The ones that really stand out are the Business Improvement Districts – or BIDs. These areas have distinct advantages; they allow local businesses to take control and make decisions to keep them cleaner, safer and more inviting. In Queens, there are BIDs in Astoria, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City, Ridgewood Sunnyside and Woodhaven. All have enlivened their communities, benefiting businesses, residents and shoppers. Without exception these corridors are better places to do business now than they were prior to the BID designations. Just look at the cleaner streets, fewer retail vacancies and increased property values.

Under the direction of members, BIDs enhance and improve the look, feel and ambiance of the street. And in every single instance, the BIDs in Queens have proved their worth. They are bargains, too. Fees are based on property size, and the average cost per store owner is $37.50 per month. Considering what shopkeepers pay for sanitation tickets and holiday lights, this is a real savings. Other benefits include staffers who advocate for the business community.

The proposed Jackson Heights-Corona BID will tie together the Roosevelt Avenue commercial corridor. One of the borough’s most important, this long shopping strip under the No. 7 train is certainly worthy of a BID. Between 82nd Street and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, there are over 1,000 small businesses that are vital to the area’s economic well-being. In the last few years, the 82nd Street Partnership has increased services, adding cleaning, marketing and promotional programs. The Queens Economic Development Corporation is proud to have helped transform Corona Plaza at 103rd Street into a pedestrian paradise that has been heralded as one of the best public spaces in the city. (My prediction: It will get even better!) But to maintain these improvements and enhance the entire commercial strip, a BID is crucial.

Change is sometimes daunting. But BIDs throughout the city have created stable and exciting commercial districts. I invite any skeptic to walk with me through any borough BID and witness their vibrancy, cleanliness and diversity.

Seth Bornstein is the Executive Director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation and has helped establish many BIDs in the borough.

 

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New Jackson Heights plaza to help revitalize neighborhood


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy the 82nd Street Partnership

A new Jackson Heights community plaza is bringing color and flowers to an area where two recent daytime murders left business owners and residents concerned for their safety.

The 82nd Street Partnership and Councilmember Julissa Ferreras announced the formation of the temporary 90th Street plaza under the No. 7 train at the intersection of 90th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

“Considering that two murders recently occurred in this area, the reclaiming of this space could not come at a better time,” said Ferreras. “What our community desperately needs right now is to feel that we can work through whatever issues arise and be more united for it.”

In September, Ever Orozco, 69, was fatally stabbed by Steven Torres, 22, after taking his wife to her routine doctor’s visit on 90th Street. A few days later, a 33-year-old man was found dead with gunshot wounds to his head and neck just a block away.

The temporary plaza, which currently features colorful tables and chairs, is just a taste of one of the many things the new Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District (BID) would bring to beautify and create a cleaner and safer community.

After getting feedback from the community, the BID will present the community vision to the Parks Department in hopes of getting the capital funding to renovate the plaza space and install permanent tables, chairs and planted flowers.

“It’s a visual improvement but it’s also a social improvement, because it makes that space a social space and it puts more eyes on the space,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership. “The important piece here is that this is an example of the type of work the BID is looking to do along Roosevelt Avenue, this is a scaled down version.”

A before photo of the plaza. 

If the community votes to accept the Jackson Heights-Corona BID by the end of this year, then it would be up and running by the time a permanent plaza could be installed and it would serve as the city’s maintenance partner of the space. The BID also hopes to work with local cultural institutions to curate art and cultural events in the plaza.

“The formation of the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District would greatly assist our community in taking a major step in the right direction,” said Ferreras.

The 82nd Street Partnership will host the 90th Street Plaza Visioning Day on Sunday, November 3 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the plaza where community members can come and give their ideas for a future permanent space. The Uni, a pop-up reading room, will also be present at the site on Sunday. For more information visit www.CleanerSaferRoosevelt.org.

 

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Some small businesses won’t back BID in Jackson Heights, Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos By Angy Altamirano

Some business owners are saying no to the expansion that would bring a business improvement district (BID) to the Jackson Heights and Corona area for fear of losing what makes the community diverse.

The 82nd Street Partnership, a non-profit group promoting the current local BID covering four blocks and over 160 businesses, announced in March it would be extending all the way through 114th Street as part of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras’ New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID.

Members and supporters of the Roosevelt Avenue Community Alliance, created to put a stop to the plan for the BID, rallied at Corona Plaza on Sunday, September 8. According to members of the group, they fear the BID will get rid of the small businesses that make up Roosevelt Avenue, push out the immigrant community and raise rents. The group later marched to Ferreras’ office on Junction Boulevard.

“This movement is no longer just a Roosevelt Avenue small business owners’ movement, it is a movement of the community,” said Freddy Castiblanco, owner of Terraza 7, a Jackson Heights bar, who is looking for an open communication with local leaders and politicians. “Roosevelt Avenue is mega diversity. We can’t allow the standardization of projects like the BID. We are here to say no to the whole process of gentrification and expulsion of our diversity.”

Yet, according to Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, most of the opposition is coming from the community not having the right information on the BID.

“There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there and that seems to be driving a lot of the fear,” said Taylor. “It’s our job that everyone has all the information they need so they can make an informed decision.”

The BID plans to become a community-driven effort including property owners, businesses, residents, public officials and other stakeholders.

“This is really a small business survival strategy,” said Taylor. “This is an opportunity for the small businesses on Roosevelt avenue to make an investment that goes right back into the neighborhood.”

To date, Taylor said they have held seven public meetings, seven steering committee meetings and dozens of one-on-one meetings with business owners. More meetings are planned for the coming weeks.

BIDs have proven to be successful in other neighborhoods — for example on Fordham Road in the Bronx and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and especially in immigrant communities — said Taylor.

“We are asking people to keep an open mind, to take time to learn the facts and to voice their concern so we can find a way to work together to invest in our neighborhood and improve quality of life for everyone,” he said. “We want to remind everyone that this is an initiative that will only happen if there is wide spread support of the small business community.”

Ballots for the BID will be sent out in the mail in October and decision making will be done by a board of directors that represents the diverse area and community members.

“The current problems on Roosevelt Avenue hurt everyone, including our working and immigrant community and small businesses,” said Ferreras. “This is why I believe a business improvement district is a solution to this problem.”

For more information on the BID, you can visit www.jhcoronabid.org.

 

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Jackson Heights, Corona get ‘taste’ of better living thru business improvement district


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras

Businesses, property owners and residents along Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard are getting a taste of how being a business improvement district (BID) can improve their quality of life.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras announced sanitation and graffiti removal services for the areas. They come as part of her New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue, which promised a “taste” of services to be offered by the Jackson Heights-Corona BID.

The “Taste of the BID” is a partnership between Ferreras, the Department of Small Business Services, the 82nd Street Partnership and local property owners. The Jackson Heights-Corona BID itself, which is still being formed, will cover the major commercial corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard and 103rd Street.

“By bringing new sanitation crews to our heavily-trafficked business corridors like Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard, we are not only increasing safety and cleanliness,” Ferreras said. “We are also helping to drive new customers to our local businesses.”

Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, touted further pluses.

“Merchants and property owners along Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard will begin to see how cleaner sidewalks can make the neighborhood a better place to shop and stroll,” he said Seth Taylor. “We are delighted that the community is getting a small taste of what the proposed Jackson Heights-Corona BID will do to improve quality of life, and we are encouraged by the growing support for the BID.”

The “Taste of the BID” is expected to run until the end of the year, with cleaning ambassadors in the area every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The services will cover Roosevelt Avenue from 82nd Street to 114th Street and Junction Boulevard and 103rd Street off Roosevelt Avenue.

“New sanitation crews have already begun to make a difference along Roosevelt Avenue through cleaner and brighter streets,” said Rob Walsh, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “By providing this neighborhood with a taste of what a BID can offer, this commercial corridor will only continue to get stronger.”

 

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Op-Ed: BID will improve quality of life, economics


| oped@queenscourier.com


BY SETH TAYLOR

Earlier this year, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras announced a “New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue,” a holistic seven-point plan that aims to revitalize what is widely known as one of New York City’s most bustling, yet uncared for, commercial corridors.

Among the seven points is the creation of a “better business environment.” To accomplish this goal, neighborhood businesses, property owners and residents are now discussing a district plan that would expand the boundaries of the 82nd Street Partnership, a vibrant business improvement district (BID) founded in 1990, to include the busy but under-resourced stretch of Roosevelt Avenue to 114th Street.

The new Jackson Heights–Corona BID would also include vital corridors off the Roosevelt Avenue artery; namely, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street, Corona Plaza and National Street.

Encompassing about 40 blocks with over 1,000 businesses, many of which are owned or operated by immigrant entrepreneurs, the Jackson Heights-Corona BID would become one of the city’s larger and most diverse BIDs. It would give this unique commercial district the resources and organizational capacity it needs to improve quality of life, promote local economic growth and, perhaps most importantly, plan for its future.

In planning the new Jackson Heights-Corona BID, the 82nd Street Partnership has been organizing numerous meetings and workshops with help from local groups including Make the Road New York, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Immigrant Movement International (in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art), Junction Boulevard Merchants Association, the Corona Community Action Network, Queens Economic Development Corporation and the city’s Department of Small Business Services. Under the leadership of Commissioner Robert Walsh, the Department of Small Business Services has successfully launched 24 BIDs citywide since 2002, with 20 of them outside Manhattan.

To further guide the BID planning process, a steering committee composed of small business owners, property owners and residents has been meeting regularly since January of this year. And a dedicated trilingual merchant organizing team has been making daily door-to-door visits to businesses. The team has collected dozens of surveys and fielded comments about the proposed BID.

Based on the extensive community input we have received thus far, the Jackson Heights–Corona BID would create a better business environment by investing in the following core programs and services:

• Sanitation, maintenance and graffiti removal: The BID’s clean team will sweep sidewalk litter, empty litter baskets, remove all graffiti from public and private property, pressure-wash sidewalks to remove pigeon droppings, paint street furniture and shovel snow from crosswalks and bus stops.

• Advocacy and small business assistance: The BID will work closely with city government agencies including police, sanitation, parks, transportation, small business services, consumer affairs and the mayor’s office, among others, to foster a business-friendly environment.

• Public space improvements: The BID will work with the city to create public spaces that are inviting and comfortable. New street trees, brighter lighting, more bicycle parking, outdoor art and new benches are some of the improvements we can expect to see.

• Marketing and events: The BID will create a shopping directory and website, organize outdoor events and promote the corridors as great places to shop and visit year-round.

As more stakeholders learn about the Jackson Heights–Corona BID plan, it is encouraging to see support steadily grow. Over the next few months, we look forward to continuing our outreach, and we encourage everyone who has a stake in the district to please get involved in this monumental neighborhood-improvement effort.

For more info on the proposed Jackson Heights–Corona BID, please visit www.JHCoronaBID.org.

Seth Taylor is executive director for the 82nd Street Partnership.