Oct. 13, by Nathaly Pesantez
The expansion of the LIC BID to sections of Vernon Boulevard and 44th Drive in Hunters Point was a development that led leaders of the BID to call it a “banner year” for the group during its 2017 annual meeting on Oct. 11.
With the expansion to Hunters Point came the voting in of directors in the new “south subdistrict”, with nine property owners, six commercial tenants, and one resident voted in for the first time. The north subdistrict, already in place, elected a total of 10 members, bringing the total number of members on the BID board to 26.
The expansion, approved in January by the City Council and with final steps completed in March, brought the LIC BID to recognize individuals who were at the forefront of the effort, including Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, and members of the BID expansion’s steering committee.
David Brause, chairman of the LIC BID, presented Van Bramer with the District Expansion Champion Award, noting that the council member has been an avid supporter of the expansion since it was proposed, with his office allocating $25,000 to the effort over the years.
“There’s a real, real coming together—we experience that in Long Island City in so many ways amidst all the change and growth,” Van Bramer said. “That’s why I was happy to support the BID expansion.”
Van Bramer pointed to the three co-chairs of the BID Expansion Steering Committee, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, Angelo Ippolito, and Paula Kirby, who combined were a “hat trick” that “principally moved” the expansion effort.
Elizabeth Lusskin, executive director of the LIC BID, said the near doubling of the BID’s size meant an expansion of services to new areas, like 7-days-a-week supplemental sanitation and streetscape and beautification improvements.
In the past fiscal year, the BID resolved 133 graffiti incidents, collected over 35,000 trash bags and planted over 1,500 plants, including over 1,000 in begonias alone. The group, through contributions by Jet Blue and Tishman Speyer totaling $27,000, mobilized 226 volunteers to clean up and plant greenery in the neighborhoods.
Lusskin was particularly excited for branded opaque trash bags coming in to replace clear ones, an initiative that she said will look much nicer on the streets in the district. District areas will also see hanging flower and evergreen baskets from lampposts, which will last through the winter and will be installed in the next two weeks.
The BID also revamped its website last November in an effort to leverage its marketing and communications. In the near future, the “LIC Compass” wayfinding program will also be introduced to help people experience LIC as if being guided by a longtime resident.
The January legislation that granted the BID’s expansion gave the group a $800,000 budget for the first year, with $350,000 for the new “south sub district” (the Hunters Point area), and $450,000 for the “north sub district” (the Queens Plaza/Court Square area already covered by the BID).
In the past fiscal year, the majority of the BID’s $521,396 revenue came from assessment income on property donors, who typically pass the cost to tenants—$492,470. The BID ended the fiscal year with a positive net of $9,888.