BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
What changes would your business like to see in Hunters Point?
This is the question that the steering committee behind a push to expand the Long Island City Business Improvement District is asking. Last week, the committee released a survey to businesses within the proposed expansion zone to collect feedback on issues in the area and desired services.
The survey asks what types of businesses respondents would like to see more of, what their priorities are for the neighborhood and how they rank services from marketing to transportation, among a host of other subjects.
BIDs are formal organizations encompasing a defined boundary, with goals including improving quality of life and connecting local businesses with services. They are funded by special assessments paid by property owners (a cost that is sometimes passed on to tenants).
The Long Island City BID, which is managed by the Long Island City Partnership, currently covers Queens Plaza and Jackson Avenue to 45th Avenue at Thompson Avenue. The proposed expanded BID sub-district would extend down Jackson Avenue and would cover stretches of Vernon Boulevard and 44th Drive as well.
Plaxall, Inc. managing director Paula Kirby, co-chair of the BID expansion steering committee, said, “as property owners in Long Island City for over 70 years we think there are definite benefits by going along with the BID and expanding it.”
Kirby pointed to increased lighting, better signage and street cleaning as potential BID efforts that would make the environment more comfortable and “people friendly.”
“The goal of the community is to be a great neighborhood for live, work, play. It’s not just a working area, it’s not just for people to come back and sit in their apartments,” she added.
The survey is not intended to gauge approval or disapproval of an expanded BID.
Per the Dept. of Small Business Services, BID creation or expansion is a multi-step, months-long process that includes public meetings and ballot collection, at which point community approval or disapproval in the BID is measured.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’re taking this one step at a time and we obviously need the community support,” Kirby said.
Joe Conley, chair of Community Board 2, issued his support for the expanded BID.
“It’s going to be taking care of a larger area, and to see the benefit of the BID and what they’ve done already, it only can have a positive impact on the community,” Conley said.
Conley noted that CB2 will have an opportunity to vote on the proposal once a budget is defined.
Other stakeholders said they would wait until further along in the process before approving or rejecting the plan.
Brent O’Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association, said, “we’re looking for more information on what services would be provided, at what price, and how the BID would be controlled.”
“Hunters Point seems like a pretty good destination right now and the neighborhood seems to be doing well, so I’m just not sure what the value added is yet,” he added. “If it’s a good proposal, we’ll bring it to our members.”
To view or fill out the steering committee’s BID expansion survey, visit www.licpartnership.org/expansionsurvey. Survey responses are being collected until Dec. 3 and public meetings on the proposed expansion will follow, according to the Partnership’s website.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, email@example.com or @JNStrawbridge.