Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the official start of services for the Fordham Road Business Improvement District (BID). The Fordham Road BID, one of 51 BIDs throughout the City’s five boroughs, will make immediate improvements to the quality of life and the business climate in the district by providing supplemental sanitation, maintenance and marketing services for the more than 275 businesses that comprise one of the Bronx’s busiest commercial corridors. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at the corner of East Fordham Road and Grand Concourse by Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert Walsh, the Fordham Road BID Board of Directors, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. and City Council Members Joel Rivera and Maria Baez to announce the latest public/private partnership that is aimed at sharing resources to improve a community’s commercial and residential prospects.
“Events like this truly capture the spirit of entrepreneurship and community - and that’s really what the City’s Business Improvement Districts are all about,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As a part of our five borough economic development plan, we are enhancing the potential of retail corridors like Fordham Road by making the streets cleaner, safer and more vibrant places to live, shop and work. BIDs allow property owners, businesses, civic leaders and other community stakeholders to rally around the common goal of improving a neighborhood, and that’s what we celebrate today.”
“The first time I met Mayor Bloomberg—during my interview for this job—he asked me about creating a Business Improvement District on Fordham Road,” said Commissioner Robert Walsh. “This is something that had been attempted several times over the past two decades, but to no avail. I’m proud to say that this time around, we’ve been successful, and I congratulate the dedicated property owners that made it happen. As one of the Bronx’s top shopping destinations for thousands of people each day, Fordham Road is an ideal location for a BID that will make the streets cleaner, safer and more attractive.”
The launch of the Fordham Road Business Improvement District is the culmination of more than two decades of effort on the part of property owners who have labored to bring a BID to their district. After several attempts to mobilize support for a BID over the years, those behind the effort got a shot in the arm in 2002 when Mayor Bloomberg outlined a set of new policy initiatives to make BIDs easier to form and make them stronger economic development partners throughout the five boroughs.
As part of this policy, the City provided seed funding, step-by-step guidance, and technical support for the planning of the BID, spearheaded by the Bronx Council for Economic Development, Monroe College and Fordham University. Mayor Bloomberg signed the Fordham Road BID into law in December 2004.
With a first-year budget of $500,000, the BID will provide supplemental services including sanitation - street sweeping, graffiti removal, snow removal and garbage removal - marketing and promotion, holiday lighting, and streetscape improvements. Fordham Road is the largest retail location in the Bronx with more than 650,000 residents in a two mile radius and more than $500 million in annual sale revenues. In addition to its core services, the BID will build off the areas’ strength as a major transportation hub that includes major medical and academic institutions in order to achieve the goals of increasing evening activity, attracting a more diverse retail mix, and enhancing services to shoppers such as better parking.
“This is a real milestone for Fordham Road, and one that was a long time coming,” said Bob Berger, Chairman of the Fordham Road BID. “Honestly, it wouldn’t have happened without the strong support of Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Small Business Services and the Bronx Council for Economic Development. They were there every step of the way, working with the Steering Committee day-in and day-out. We also received crucial support from Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Council members Joel Rivera and Maria Baez, and Assemblyman Jose Rivera.”
“This significant investment of the Fordham BID is indicative of the optimism people have in the Bronx and just another example of the unprecedented economic development that has been taking place in our borough in recent years,” said Borough President Carrion. “It should serve as the new measure of how good economic development can and should be done. When we invest wisely in our communities we create opportunities for people to reap the benefits of a strong economy and give future generations more advantages to succeed in a competitive economy.”
“The Fordham Road BID will play an instrumental role in the improvement of the businesses that operate on Fordham Road,” said City Council Member Maria Baez. “I truly believe that the sanitation and marketing services will enhance the attractiveness of many businesses in the area by making the streets cleaner and providing advertisements of special events, which in turn will draw more consumers to the area. In addition, the BID will serve as an economic enhancer not only improving Fordham Road, but the overall economic development of the Bronx.”
“In terms of its scope and vision, the Fordham Road BID is an extraordinarily ambitious effort that will greatly improve New York City's third largest retail corridor,” said City Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera. “This is comprehensive community development in every sense of the word.”
A Business Improvement District (BID) delivers supplemental services such as sanitation and maintenance, public safety and visitor services, marketing and promotional programs, capital improvements and beautification in a designated area. BIDs are funded by a special assessment paid by property owners within the district. SBS works with commercial property owners and businesses to assist them in forming BIDs and managing BID services on an ongoing basis.
Since 2001, seven new BIDs have been created including in Downtown Flushing, Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica, and Queens Plaza in Long Island City, at Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and at Forest Avenue in West Brighton, Staten Island, and at 161st Street near Yankee Stadium and at Fordham Road in the Bronx. The City’s 51 BIDs across the five boroughs represents the most comprehensive network of its kind in the country. Collectively, they contribute nearly $80 million in supplemental services to more than 63,000 businesses.