The Jamaica Business Improvement District had its annual meeting Tuesday, where keynote speaker York College president Marcia Kiesz talked about future project idea such as first ever CUNY School of Pharmacy and capital investment in the startup industry, at the Harvest Room since the launch of Jamaica Now action plan this year in downtown Jamaica.
Dozens of local business owners, community leaders and elected officials gathered to network and discuss the current state of business affairs in downtown Jamaica. The keynote speaker was York College President Marcia Keisz, who spoke about pipelines to higher education in Jamaica.
Keisz described how York College and its students are centered around the economy of downtown Jamaica and how it will be a part of its growth as well.
“Culturally and economically, we have in mind that the big dream is the concept of a pharmacist school, a CUNY school of pharmacy, the first of a downstate public school,” said Keisz.
She also pointed out that the college is exploring start-up investments and has two “very real possibilities in the start-up world — one in environment and in technology.”
The annual meeting provides an opportunity for BID members to preview strategic initiatives planned for the upcoming fiscal year.
“We are all the buzz and we are a great place for business,” said Rhonda Binda, director of the BID. Binda also said new projects through collaborations will start in the fall, in line with Jamaica Now action plan.
The Jamaica Now action plan seeks to address the challenges that have faced the Jamaica area in recent years by providing workforce training and small business support, initiating new mixed-use development anchored by affordable housing, and improving the livability of the neighborhood through investments in safety measures, green spaces and more. The 21 strategic actions, 16 of which will be launched and implemented in the next three years, represent approximately $153 million in current public funding.
On Tuesday, Borough President Melinda Katz announced her appointees to the Jamaica Now Leadership Council, which will oversee and evaluate efforts to unleash Jamaica’s vast potential for economic growth. The Jamaica Now Leadership Council selected 36 community members and 11 elected officials out of 80 applicants, who include Rhonda Binda from the Jamaica BID and Simone Price from the Sutphin BID.
“Jamaica is a wonderful neighborhood with a huge untapped potential for growth,” Katz said. “The Jamaica Now Leadership Council consists of stakeholders truly vested in the area’s success. Each appointee is entrusted with overseeing the plan’s rollout and ensuring that the community’s interests are paramount throughout implementation.”
The BID also honored Carlisle Towery, the retired president of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, for his special services to the development of the greater Jamaica area and Marvin Falack of Cookies Children’s department store for his exemplary services in leadership and collaboration with BID programs.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull
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