An expansion of the BID is aimed at transforming the harsh industrial streets into a more inviting, consumer-friendly neighborhood that is well maintained and safe by improving services like street cleaning, graffiti removal and increased street lighting.
Business owners in the area suspect that a lack of foot traffic is due to poor lighting.
The plan also includes street beautification, such as flower baskets and landscaping, as well as community events, seasonal lights and neighborhood marketing promotional materials such as maps.
LIC BID Steering Committee co-chair Gianna Cerbone-Teoli has deep roots in Long Island City, born in a house not far from her restaurant Manducatis Rustica. She has seen Long Island City change over the years, but not in ways that foster the growth of the neighborhood for residents and consumers.
“We used to have a lot more industry and things have changed on and off since I opened the restaurant eight years ago,” she said. “Everyone is looking to come to this neighborhood because we have one of the best views, but we are also known for our restaurants and for our community, so we want to keep them here too.”
Under the plan, each property owner will charged a property tax assessment to fund the BID based on property type, street frontage, size and value. Residential properties will generally be responsible to pay $1 per year, while non-profit organizations are not required to pay.
The typical Vernon Boulevard mixed-use property will pay approximately $860 annually. In the sub-district, 50 percent of properties will be charged less than $660 per year.
Informational meetings will be held to educate the public and local stakeholders on the proposal on July 29 at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Dr. Angelo Ippolito, Cerbone-Teoli’s partner on the Steering Committee and owner of LIC Chiropractic, said that a first priority of the expansion is to make the area more welcoming for not only consumers, but also prospective local business owners.
“When people come down Vernon Boulevard, this is the first thing they see,” he said, gesturing toward trash-littered, factory-lined streets. “For a new businesses, this is not very attractive or inviting. It is important to beautify the area and maintain it and just overall make it a little more inviting for someone who is willing to open up a business.”