Members of the Long Island City business community say the proposed plan to expand the existing business improvement district is a necessity in helping the area become more inviting and attractive.
The LIC BID, which was created in 2005 and is managed by the LIC Partnership, announced its plan Tuesday to create a new sub-district expanding the services of the BID to the corridors of Vernon Boulevard, Jackson Avenue and 44th Drive.
The expansion would provide services – such as street sanitation and beautification – that look to better support local businesses and promote a higher quality of life for the LIC neighborhood.
“Maintenance, beautification, sanitation – these things don’t just spontaneously happen. There needs to be an agent, an entity that supervises and guides this through,” said Dr. Angelo Ippolito, co-chair of the LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee and owner of L.I.C. Chiropractic. “We here in Long Island City think we are right up there with all the progressive neighborhoods, therefore we need a BID.”
The BID currently covers the Queens Plaza/Court Square sub-district made up of Queens Plaza North and South between 21st Street and Jackson Avenue/Northern Boulevard, and along Jackson Avenue to 45th Avenue.
Creating the sub-district will allow services to be tailored specifically to the new area while also benefiting from administrative cost savings from joint activities like marketing, business services, increased sanitation, beautification and daily management.
“It’s ideal for the businesses and we look forward to it. This is a great solution for something that needed to be done long ago,” said Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, co-chair of the LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee and owner of Manducatis Rustica.
According to local business owners, the expansion of the BID will also help increase foot traffic in areas that have not been seeing too much business and also bring in a variety of new businesses.
“I think having the BID here will help people realize that it is a place to come and do business,” said Donna Drimer, owner of Matted LIC. “Without it I’m not really sure how much small business can survive here. We’re caught. There’s a real disconnect between going to work in Manhattan, shopping in Manhattan, and coming home and not supporting the neighborhood.”
The BID expansion is expected to bring services such as street sanitation; retail attraction and real estate support; targeted community events; street beautification; advocacy for improved city services such as enhanced street and sidewalk lighting; and the creation and distribution of neighborhood marketing and promotional materials.
With being part of the BID, about 50 percent of the properties in the sub-district would be charged less than $660 annually and 75 percent will be charged less than $2,000 annually.
“I’m a huge supporter of the BID and big supporter of the expansion of the BID because this is going to give voice to so many small business owners. It’s going to empower more small business owners. It’s going to allow them to do so much more as a group of business owners,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.
The members of the LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee say that local business owners and stakeholders have voiced support for the BID expansion and they plan to continue reaching out to the community through surveys and one-on-one discussions.
The LIC BID will be holding two public meetings on July 29 – one at Hunters Point Plaza, 47-40 21st St., at 9:30 a.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m. at the New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Avenue.
After collecting ballots of support, the expansion will then enter a process taking between nine to 12 months and must go through the City Planning Commission, Community Board 2, the Queens borough president, City Council, the mayor and the state comptroller.
“This is the most necessary thing we need at the moment. Everybody talks about beautification, everyone talks about so many other things but what we need right now is for this to happen for this neighborhood in order for it to continue to flourish in a positive way,” Cerbone-Teoli said.
For more information, visit licpartnership.org/bidexpansion.