The City of New York is home to sixty-six Business Improvement Districts. These Districts are comprised of business owners who are devoted to enhancing the image of their neighborhood. They do this by keeping the district clean, friendly and appealing.
In 2005, Staten Island received its first Business Improvement District in West Brighton. The district is located on Forest Avenue, between Broadway and Hart Boulevard, and contains 101 businesses. Here, the sidewalks and gutters are swept while graffiti is removed from the buildings within the District. Two “strolls” are hosted annually, in addition to breakfasts and luncheons, which enable the owners and residents of the neighborhood to meet and get to know each other. During the holidays, lights line the street. One of the main goals of the District is to get people to walk to the stores located in the area, rather than drive.
As early as 2007, the City of New York decided to create their second Business Improvement District. This would be located on Victory Boulevard, between Todt Hill Road and Mann Avenue. At the time, The West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation, who had worked on the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District, had started working on the creation of this District, which is encompassed by 140 businesses.
As we all know, most good things come with a price. In order to keep a Business Improvement District attractive, the services require each business owner to pay a fee higher than what they currently pay for their property. At the beginning of 2009, the District was expected to be complete by the summer of 2010. However, with the economy the way it had been at the time, the work laid inert.
Anthony Licciardello, who is now president of RealEstateSINY.com, a local dot.com real estate brokerage, was the project manager who spearheaded the Victory Boulevard BID proposal contends that the economic climate played a role, but ultimately believes the Business Improvement District would have succeeded given the right support. He stated, this project should have come to fruition, as a good part of consensus building, public and commercial public information sections and outreach was complete or nearing completion.
Ultimately, he felt its failure was due to many factors, and unfortunately the main one was not the lack of support from the business community, but elements outside the proposed Victory Boulevard Business Improvement District. Furthermore, contends this project was made to collapse in the eleventh hour. Mr. Licciardello stated; “the West Brighton LDC, under the new direction of Angela D’Aiuto, is best suited in seeing this proposal through.”
While the economy may have delayed work on most of Staten Island’s projects, efforts have been made to continue with the Victory Boulevard District. In the past few years, the mention of a Business Improvement District on Victory Boulevard has been mentioned by the community, Mayor Bloomberg, and various others.
It has been over a year since we have heard any news pertaining to the District. However, that does not necessarily mean that it will not happen soon. After all, the process of forming a Business Improvement District takes quite a while, and it has been over three years since the idea was suggested and sought out.