At a town hall meeting on June 19, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras hit the issue head on, saying that she’s aware not everyone will be happy about the BID, but to at least hear out the plan.
“We’re not going to agree, but this is a taste for you to begin thinking creatively,” said Ferreras.
Ferreras backed up her strong support for the BID by making an argument that the businesses in the area need to band together due to a proposed plan to build a 1.4-million-square-foot mall at Willets Point, or as she described it “right at the end of Roosevelt Avenue.”
The proposed BID would the be largest of the current 67 in New York City and cover Roosevelt Avenue from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to 82nd Street. It would focus on sanitation, graffiti removal, and issues facing business owners.
Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), called the project “ambitious,” and then said that is why it’s prefect for New York City.
Bornstein explained after the meeting that small business owners are concerned about the extra taxes to fund the BID, but said most of the feedback has been supportive.
Seth Taylor is the director of the two-block 82nd Street Partnership BID, which would become part of the larger BID if it is ultimately enacted.
At the meeting, Taylor explained the proposed BID would have an annual budget estimated at $1.1 million, and cost businesses owners around $2,000 a year.
“The BID represents the interest and the issues that impact the small business community,” said Taylor.
Taylor said that residents have told him that they feel unsafe at night due to poor lighting, and a man who works at an area bar said he has personally seized guns and knives from patrons.
“In addition to working more closely with the NYPD, there are some strategies that we can be implement [to make the area safer],” said Taylor.