New York, June 23, 2009 – The Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) marked a milestone as it celebrated the beginning of its 10th year of operation. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today was joined by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and City Council Member Gale Brewer at the 10th annual Columbus Avenue BID meeting held at Isabella’s on Columbus Avenue. Helping neighborhoods become more inviting to business and residents is an integral part of the City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan to create jobs for New Yorkers today, implement a vision for long-term economic growth, and build affordable, attractive neighborhoods.
“Columbus Avenue has long had all the ingredients of a thriving corridor: It’s an historic district with great cultural institutions, right next to one of the world’s most famous parks. But for too long, it didn’t live up to its potential,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Building strong, attractive neighborhoods is one of the pillars of our administration’s five-borough economic opportunity plan – our strategy for leading the city out of the national recession as quickly as possible.”
In January 2000, legislation was signed creating the Columbus Avenue BID. The Columbus Avenue BID is a thriving retail community in the heart of New York City's Upper West Side, wholly contained within the Central Park West Historic District. The district includes the American Museum of Natural History, The Rose Center for Earth and Space, and is just steps from the New-York Historical Society. The fifteen block district runs along Columbus Avenue, dipping into side streets where there is commercial development. Its southern border is at West 67th Street, just a block from Lincoln Center, and the northern boundary is currently on the south side of West 82nd Street.
The entire stretch of the Columbus Avenue BID is a mix of low-rise retail ground-floor establishments comprising contemporary shops and restaurants housed in late 19th and early 20th century buildings that define the first wave of construction on the Upper West Side. The retail establishments provide a colorful and continuous flow throughout, with architecture composed almost exclusively of French flats and tenements, typically five to six stories high. The one architectural exception within the district is the stately American Museum of Natural History, stretching for four blocks on the east side of the Avenue and surrounded by beautiful Theodore Roosevelt Park.
The budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year is $515,300. The BID provides maintenance, supplemental sanitation and security services, plus marketing and promotion of local businesses, holiday lighting, economic development, beautification and landscaping.
This past year the BID hosted the second annual New Taste of the Upper West Side event which attracted more than 1,700 attendees and raised additional funds for beautification initiatives along the corridor. During the past few years, the BID also helped to establish a greenmarket in front of Theodore Roosevelt Park providing a sense of place along three blocks in the BID and attracting shoppers to the district
There are 64 BIDs in New York City. There have been a total of 20 BIDs formed under the Bloomberg administration – the highest number of BIDs created under a single administration. The BIDs established under Mayor Bloomberg have collectively invested over $17.5 million dollars towards the improvement of their districts since their inception. They provide supplementary services to over 700 block faces in New York City and serve over 5,000 businesses. In addition, in FY 2008 these BIDs have employed close to 70 sanitation workers and removed over 170,000 tons of garbage and 10,500 graffiti incidents; distributed close to 100,000 district guides; held over 70 events with an estimated 130,000 attendees; and beautified their districts by adding over 150 plantings and 700 pieces of street furniture. Under Mayor Bloomberg, the number of BIDs in Queens and Brooklyn grew over 50% and the number of BIDs in the Bronx doubled. In addition, the first BID in Staten Island, the Forest Avenue BID, was signed into law in 2004.
“It is evident that the Mayor is committed to supporting the City’s BIDs and helping them continue to grow," said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh. “BIDs play a vital role in ensuring that small businesses, and the neighborhoods in which they operate, remain vibrant and attractive places to live, work and do business.”
About the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan
The Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city's economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth.
About The Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to form, do business, and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. NYC Workforce1 Career Centers offer services to meet the needs of all jobseekers, including one-on-one job and career counseling, technical and educational services, workshops, and referrals to training providers. For more information on all of SBS’ services go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.