On Friday, November 12, Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh attended a ribbon cutting for two new women-owned businesses and a celebration of a new Business Improvement District (BID) on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. Mayor Bloomberg signed the local law creating the BID on November 9. It is the third BID formed under the Bloomberg Administration and the first new BID in Brooklyn. Commissioner Walsh was joined by City Council Member Letitia James, Dr. Thomas F. Schutte, President of Pratt Institute and Chair of the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project and the BID steering committee, and several local merchants.
"Mayor Bloomberg has been a champion of Business Improvement Districts, making it easier for them to form, function and grow," said Commissioner Walsh. "Congratulations to the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC and the BID steering committee for bringing the merchants and property owners together. This is grassroots economic development at its finest and the BID will take the revitalization of Myrtle Avenue to the next level."
"The BID will create a sustainable means toward providing the extra sanitation and marketing services so crucial for a neighborhood commercial strip like Myrtle Avenue," said Dr. Schutte. "I commend the members of the steering committee and the many local property owners and merchants who worked tirelessly over the past two years to make the BID a reality."
"The fact that the BID will further empower women-owned business and continue the revitalization of Myrtle Avenue is fabulous," said Councilmember James. "I applaud all of the work that Department of Small Business Services has done for the constituents in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill."
The Myrtle Avenue BID extends from Flatbush Avenue Extension to Classon Avenue and serves approximately 130 individual property owners and 160 businesses. With a first year budget of $250,000, the BID will provide supplemental sanitation services such as sidewalk sweeping, graffiti removal and garbage removal, marketing and promotion of the shopping strip, holiday lighting, and beautification of the avenue. Services are expected to begin in early 2005.
Over the last several years, this stretch of Myrtle Avenue has experienced an impressive revitalization, including the opening of a number of new small businesses. The BID will build on these successes, and help area businesses capitalize on the economic benefits of recent and future developments in bordering neighborhoods.
Business Improvement Districts are public/private partnerships where property and business owners choose to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial districts. BIDs make New York's commercial districts safer and more accessible, and encourage new investment. With the addition of Myrtle Avenue, New York City will now have 47 BIDs, which collectively provide $77 million in supplemental services each year.
In May 2002, Mayor Bloomberg announced a new policy that made it easier for BIDs to form and grow in New York City. Since then, three new BIDs have formed, 27 have increased their annual assessments, and one has expanded. Four additional new BIDs are nearing completion in the approval process, including Forest Avenue in Staten Island; Fordham Road in the Bronx; Queens Plaza in Long Island City; and 161st Street in the Bronx. Last year, SBS published "Starting a Business Improvement District: A Step-by-Step Guide" as an additional resource for communities to form BIDs and understand the approval process. This guide and more information about the City's network of 47 BIDs is available on www.nyc.gov/sbs.
The Department of Small Business Services makes it easier for companies in New York City to form, do business and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, promoting financial and economic opportunity among minority- and women-owned businesses, preparing New Yorkers for jobs and linking employers with a skilled and qualified workforce.