Thankfully, some Atlantic Avenue business owners are in the process of obtaining a more appealing title, at least for a portion of the busy thoroughfare.
A group is pushing for a Business Improvement District (BID) along the avenue that would stretch from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to 4th Avenue, excluding the three blocks between Court and Smith streets.
The Atlantic Avenue BID's steering committee gave an update on the plan at a public meeting April 28th at Long Island College Hospital.
“This is an incredible opportunity to build a powerful, sustainable organization,” Elizabeth Crowell, co-chair of the BID steering committee, said. “This is a necessity, not a luxury.”
Crowell, who owns the Sterling Place shop on Atlantic Avenue, stressed the importance of swift action in the matter.
“If we don’t form our own BID right now another group or organization will,” she said. “It’s imperative we seize this opportunity.”
Crowell said the BID would create a successful marketing and promotional campaign, which in turn would help to attract visitors and residents to the area. She said improving sanitation services would help as well.
“There’s no point in bringing people to the avenue if it’s dirty,” Crowell said.
Maintaining the BID would require an estimated $240,000 per year according to the steering committee. That money would be collected from business and property owners throughout the district.
Crowell estimated the average business on the avenue would have to pay approximately $500 per year, but that number would be determined by the amount of frontage feet each store has on the avenue.
Rachel Liebowicz, owner of Circa Antiques at 374 Atlantic Avenue, said a BID makes sense. BIDs “seem to be the wave of the future,” Liebowicz said. “We want to have control over our business area and have a BID we have a say in.”
Robert Perris, district manager of Community Board Two, has plenty of experience in dealing with BID’s. CB2 oversees more BID’s than any other community board in the city. He said the benefits of an such projects are more than worth the cost.
“People do it because they are effective and they really work,” Perris said.
Steering board officials estimate the project could take anywhere from nine to fifteen months to bring to fruition. The BID must eventually be approved by the City Council.