The City Council this week unanimously approved the creation of a Business Improvement District for Fifth Avenue, an initiative supporters say will enhance the popular commercial strip.
The Council voted 45-0 to establish the BID, which will stretch along the avenue from Dean Street to 18th Street.
The Fifth Avenue BID will include roughly 900 commercial businesses, and will be the city’s 60th BID.
BID members are asked to pay a “voluntary tax” amounting to about $485 a year. The tax is levied to landlords, who then pass on the expense to the merchants.
The money goes to the city, which holds it, and then reallocates it to the BID, which then forms a board and hire an executive director to administer services. Merchants and landlords then decide how best to spend the money.
The proposed first year budget of the Fifth Avenue BID is $300,000: $80,000 will go toward maintenance and sanitation; $27,000 for security; $92,000 on marketing and promotion; $22,000 for economic development; other than personal services amount to $39,000 and administrative costs are proposed at $40,000, according to a City Council report.
“I commend the Fifth Avenue Merchants Association for helping make this a reality,” said Councilmember Bill de Blasio after the May 28th vote.
“BIDs are a great way to improve and Fifth Avenue is already a trendy destination because of its wide array of restaurants and shops, and the BID will only increase the popularity of the area,” the lawmaker predicted.
According to a Council report on the matter, Fifth Avenue property owners overwhelmingly supported the BID’s creation. Less than one percent of property owners in the BID’s boundaries filed an objection to its creation by the May 15 deadline, the report states.
“I am thrilled about the BID,” Irene Lo Re, the owner of Aunt Suzie’s Restaurant and the co-chair of the BID steering committee.
“This will enable us to get things done, not just for the commercial strip but for the neighborhood,” she said.
She expected that the BID will be in operation before the new year.
For two decades, Aunt Suzie’s has stood at 247 Fifth, enduring the bad times and enjoying the good.
“I have been waiting for this baby for 20 years,” Lo Re said.
©2008 Community News Group
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