May 29, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
The Long Island City Business Improvement District launched a number of new initiatives in fiscal year 2015 that included a neighborhood welcome kiosk and a 3-D rendering of incoming construction in the area.
The LIC BID, which is operated by the LIC Partnership and serves the Queens Plaza/Court Square area, held its fiscal year 2015 annual meeting Thursday and announced that it expects to generate nearly $450,000 in revenue for the year finishing June 30.
The BID generated most of its revenue in the past year via an assessment on property owners – a cost that is typically passed on to tenants. This year it collected $425,000 total in assessments, up from $400,000 last year. The BID is not allowed to take more than $450,000 in assessments per year.
The BID is also expected to collect $21,000 in corporate donations by the end of the fiscal year.
As in previous years, funds are being spent on street cleaning projects ranging from trash pickup to maintaining greenery to salting roads in winter. Roughly $8,000 went toward two new projects: bench painting and a graffiti reporting and removal service.
Also for the first time, the BID spent $12,000 on a kiosk stocked with neighborhood information. The kiosk is manned by a “street ambassador,” who is available to provide pedestrians and tourists with tips and answer questions.
So far two ambassadors have worked the kiosk, in the fall and spring, according to the LIC Partnership’s director of economic development, planning and BID services Dana Frankel. The spring ambassador was hired through the Long Island City-based group the Fortune Society, which helps find employment for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Twenty new trash cans also popped up in the district this year. The BID bought these cans used from the Lincoln Square BID, cleaned them and stamped them with the LIC Partnership logo, at a cost of $8,723, Frankel said.
The BID expanded its marketing budget from $6,000 last year to $15,000, which allowed for new expenses such as designing the look of the kiosk, as well as continuing to provide graphic materials for retail attractions and promoting community events.
The expanded marketing funds also went towards a new project that will provide the public with a window to the future Long Island City skyline.
The BID has commissioned photographer Jesse Winter and 3-D architect Hiroshi Kagoshima to assemble renderings of planned Long Island City developments into a single image, from which viewers will be able to imagine the neighborhood’s future.
“The scale of [development], it’s crazy,” Frankel said. “To be able to see those [buildings] all in one place, I think it will be able to tell the story of what’s happening here really effectively.”
The BID continues to work on its expansion plan, which involves similar services to the business district that would encompass Jackson Avenue, Vernon Boulevard and 44th Drive. A steering committee is in the process of collecting surveys from property owners and tenants to gauge interest.
There would be some shared administrative expenses between the original and expanded BID districts, Frankel said.
According to its annual report, the BID intends to launch a set of new services in the upcoming fiscal year.
These will include supporting Citi Bike’s expansion into Queens and adding lighting to the area.