Oct. 11, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The Long Island City Partnership celebrated the first full year of the district’s expansion at its annual meeting yesterday, where it boasted of last year’s achievements and spoke to future programs aimed at bettering the area’s economic profile.
The Business Improvement District received approval to expand into Hunters Point, referred to as the “south subdistrict,” in January 2017, nearly doubling the BID’s coverage and bringing services like 7-days-a-week supplemental sanitation and streetscape improvements to a larger area.
Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership, said the prior year was an exciting one for the district, and mainly spoke to past and upcoming efforts to highlight local businesses and beautify the district.
The BID, for instance, will be installing snowflake lighting across the district, to pair with an upcoming shop local for the holiday season campaign. The prior year was spent making sure lampposts were properly wired to install the lights, with 85 ready to go.
It is also helping to fund and organize streetscape and arts projects in Long Island City beyond the confines of the district, with several works of art set to appear in neighborhood in the fall and next spring.
Works, done in partnership with local artists and organizations, will be found along park walls, fences, sidewalks, and other open spaces.
The first project they helped bring about, Lusskin said, was the mural at the Queensbridge Houses Baby Park.
The next one will be a joint project with the Department of Health on an unspecified location along 42nd Road. The stretch, near the department’s headquarters, is within the Queens Plaza neighborhood and spans about five blocks.
Another project will focus on the public realm, and help transform underutilized spaces into temporary and permanent public spaces—a ongoing hot topic in areas like Court Square.
The partnership is also continuing to work on its way-finding and signage program called “LIC Compass.” The program, funded in part by Empire State Development and the NYC Department of Small Business Services, aims to help locals and visitors find their way around the neighborhood and discover new places to purchase goods and services.
A beta of the pilot program will be launching in November.
Lusskin said LIC Springs, which celebrated its fifth year, saw more than 100 different participating businesses and organizations last year and more than 1,000 attendees. Last year’s Small Business Saturday, she added, marked the eighth year of the event in the BID, and encouraged people to shop at more than 50 businesses offering promotions on that day.
On a district-wide scale, the BID resolved 159 graffiti incidents, collected 53,000 trash bags, and maintained 93 trash receptacles—all numbers that increased given the expanded district. It also installed 87 hanging flower baskets and, as it does yearly, planted begonias into tree pits.
The partnership ended the fiscal year with a positive net balance of $51,546, with treasurer Alan Suna noting that it was due to money not being used for winter lights, as it was discovered that many of the poles were not yet wired.
The BID’s financial report also shows that most of its $830,000 went to sanitation and maintenance. Administrative expenses were also higher this year compared to last year due to the partnership’s offices moving to another floor within the Brewster Building.