Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Rob Walsh and members of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID) today celebrated the BID's first year of operation with a holiday lighting ceremony. The Sutphin Boulevard BID was signed into law in December of 2003 and began operating in July. By the end of this year, four new Business Improvement Districts will have been created in the past two months, bringing the total number of BIDs under the Bloomberg Administration to six. These include Downtown Flushing (Queens), Sutphin Boulevard (Queens), Myrtle Avenue (Brooklyn), Forest Avenue (Staten Island) and Fordham Road (Bronx) and Long Island City (Queens). Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Walsh, joined by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Council Members Leroy Comrie and James Sanders and Sutphin Boulevard BID Chairwoman Joy Tomchin, commemorated the Administration's efforts to assist local businesses with a holiday lighting ceremony at Agapé Blends Café, a self-proclaimed "Coffee, Tea and Cake Factory" which also serves breakfast and lunch as one of the area's only sit-down restaurants.
"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 strategy, we are enhancing the potential of retail corridors like Sutphin Boulevard, we are making the streets cleaner, safer and more attractive, and by extension making our neighborhoods more vibrant places to live, shop and work. BIDs allow property owners, business operators civic leaders and other community stakeholders to rally around the common goal of improving a neighborhood, and that's what we celebrate tonight. Next stop: Long Island City, where I expect to sign another new BID into law within the month."
"Time and again, BIDs have proven to be vital partners in improving the City's economy at the neighborhood level," said SBS Commissioner Walsh. "The Mayor recognized this from day one when he set out a clear mandate for the Department of Small Business Services: let's make it easier for BIDs to form, let's make it easier for them to grow, and let's make it easier for them to be recognized. That's what we've done, and Sutphin Boulevard is living proof."
"It's great to have the Mayor and Commissioner Walsh come out and celebrate the BID," said Joy Tomchin, said Sutphin Boulevard BID Chairwoman Joy Tomchin. "Their support has been invaluable as we have gotten the BID up and running, and the impact we have had is already visible. The quality of life is improving and the streets have more vitality as we continue to catalyze economic revitalization in Jamaica."
The Sutphin Boulevard BID encompasses both sides of Sutphin Boulevard between Hillside Avenue and the Jamaica Terminal of the AirTrain at 94thAvenue. The BID represents approximately 134 businesses with services that include street sweeping, graffiti removal, power washing of sidewalks, snow removal, garbage removal and improved security, and promotion/marketing efforts for the district's businesses.
An additional two BIDs, one on Fordham Road in the Bronx and another at Queens Plaza in Long Island City were approved by City Council earlier today and will complete the approval process by the end of the month. Mayor Bloomberg created the first new BID of his Administration in Downtown Flushing in September of 2003. All told, the City's network of 48 BIDs annually contributes more than $75 million in supplemental services.
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.