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Sutphin Blvd. biz group hears advice at first meeting

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"I'm the former director of a BID," said Commissioner Robert Walsh. "The biggest thing I've seen is that this puts people in a room together."

Walsh was the guest speaker at the first meeting of the Sutphin Boulevard District Management Association, the organization responsible for managing the business improvement district in Jamaica. The district, officially formed late last year, stretches from Hillside Avenue to 94th Avenue along the Sutphin Boulevard commercial corridor.

The BID allows business and property owners to work cooperatively to improve the area through aesthetic, sanitation and security measures. Projects are funded through a levy imposed on the property owners.

"This is an exciting time," said Melva Miller, the executive director of the association. "There is no doubt this BID will assist in the revitalization of Sutphin Boulevard."

Walsh, who managed the 14th Street BID in Manhattan before joining Small Business Services, read off a top 10 list of things to make the BID successful. Open communication with businesses, residents and other community groups as well as developing a strategic plan were some of the points on the lists.

"I encourage you to as you look forward two, three, five years down the road stay focused on the primary services," he said. "Keep it clean, safe and get those wins before you expand the BID."

He also stressed a block-by-block approach.

"Figure out every flaw there is and see if you can check it off the list at the end of the month," he said.

Miller discussed the sanitation and maintenance projects the BID plans to start next month. The organization was soliciting bids from vendors to remove posters and stickers from light poles, garbage cans, walls and phone booths, paint over graffiti and pick up litter, she said. The directors may choose a vendor as early as July 5.

The Queens Watch program will also help keep the BID safe. The program works similarly to a Neighborhood Watch program, and district members will be able to communicate with the 103rd Precinct through handheld two-way radios, Miller said.

Aesthetic projects, including holiday lighting and decorative banners were slated for the fall and winter, she said.

"We want to improve the conditions for businesses and attract and retain new businesses," Miller said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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