The Maspeth Industrial Business Association (MIBA) formed in early 2011 as a project of the Business Outreach Center (BOC) Network, a non-profit that provides economic development assistance to industrial businesses.
Bob Reddan, chair of the MIBA steering committee and CFO of Awisco, a Maspeth-based welding supplies distributor, said the association is forming because several voices are louder than one.
The association aims to provide information on local issues, navigating the government, and services such as helping business get tax credits and incentives, workforce development, financing and real estate. It will also help business address maintenance and infrastructure issues, in addition to hosting workshops and networking events.
“The goal of this association is to try to get businesses together to discuss the problems and try and get viable solutions and strategies to help resolve them,” Reddan said in a recent interview at the Awisco warehouse at 55-15 43rd Street. “We have common issues and problems within the area.”
He said a group of businesses will be more effective when calling the city or visiting a community board or elected official to discuss an issue, such as electrical blackouts.
So far, the steering committee represents 10 Maspeth businesses, including Waste Management, Davis & Warshow, Canada Dry, Boro-wide Recycling, J&R Electronics, Con Edison, Valley National Bank and O’Kane Realty.
According to Jean Tanler, director of Industrial Business Development at the BOC network, among the issues that MIBA intends to address is whether Maspeth businesses will face financial liability or could receive insurance money due to the designation of Newtown Creek as a national Superfund site.
The potential for an inter-modal distribution hub to be built in Maspeth under the Cross Harbor Freight Program, established under the Federal Highway Administration and the Port Authority, is also an issue MIBA intends to tackle. According to the BOC Network, MIBA will advocate for Maspeth industrial businesses regarding eminent domain, traffic congestion and improving local freight movement.
Reddan added that the association will advocate for additional public transportation in the area.
“This area is very, very hard to get to by public transportation,” he said, “and I would say a good number of the employees come by public transportation.”
Other problems industrial businesses face in Maspeth are high property taxes and zoning issues.
“We're trying to add a voice to this area and make the local politicians take notice of us,” Reddan said. “We want to preserve the industrial zone, we want to improve on the industrial zone.”
According to BOC network, 20 percent of the 12,542 acres of land zoned for industrial use as of 2002 was rezoned for other uses by 2010, which helps the government yield more money in property taxes.
“The city sees a need for the property and the property's taken,” Reddan said. “We'd like to get some assistance with relocating and staying within the area; keep the jobs in the area, don't upset everyone's income and life.”
The association is hosting a Kick-Off Membership Meeting on Thursday, January 26, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Anoroc Building at 45-23 47th Street in Sunnyside.
For more information, contact Jean Tanler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 205-3773.