Merchants on Avenue D and Utica Avenue are taking the first steps toward instituting a Business Improvement District.
A meeting held recently at New Life Tabernacle, at the corner of Avenue D and Utica Avenue, brought together businesspeople from the two strips to hear about government assistance that might be available to them should they need it.
Those who spoke praised the concept of the BID, which brings additional services such as street cleaning and security, as well as marketing of the businesses and holiday lighting, to those thoroughfares that have one. The benefits of having a BID translate into creating a more welcoming atmosphere for shopping and doing business, they said.
“A BID is important,” averred Bernadette Nation, of the city’s Department of Small Business Services. “A BID means increased services.” A cleaner shopping area, she added, translates to “more customers,” as does “added security” that results in “less crime.”
“Hopefully, in the near future, you can develop a BID,” Carolyn Sanders-James, the Brooklyn director for the mayor’s Community Assistance Unit told the group. Having a BID, she stressed, means that merchants, “Are able to have a voice in the city. You can bring about changes and help to develop the community.”
“I hope we get some help here,” noted Terrence LaPierre, the president of the Avenue D Merchants Association. “We need it.”
In a subsequent interview, LaPierre said that, with the idea of forming a BID upmost in their minds, Sanders-James will be joining him on a walk-through of the merchant strips on Avenue D and Utica Avenue
In addition, he said, Reverend Terry Lee of Byway Church and Bishop Michael Mitchell of New Life Tabernacle would be involved in the effort to jump-start the BID over the near future. Both churches are located on the strips, and New Life Tabernacle owns several business properties in the area.
“Within a month, we are going to contact everyone,” LaPierre promised.
While forming a BID can be a heavy lift, LaPierre expressed optimism that the necessary support would be garnered -- not only from merchants but also property owners -- to establish a BID along Avenue D between Nostrand Avenue and Kings Highway, and on Utica Avenue, between Glenwood road and Church Avenue. Approximately 150 properties are located within the area, LaPierre said.
Support from more than 50 percent of property owners is required because. by approving the BID, the property owners in effect approve an assessment on themselves that is used to finance the wide range of services and programs the BID oversees.
“We are trying to get everyone involved,” LaPierre told this paper. “It’s a big job, but I think I can handle it. I am confident it is going to happen.”