Twenty-two antique light poles are being installed along Kings Highway between Ocean Parkway and McDonald Avenue, replacing all existing street and traffic lights. It’s part of an effort to make an oft-ignored stretch of businesses more appealing to shoppers.
The project is being done with $228,000 allocated in 2007 by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, and will be completed in approximately one month.
“It’s always important to enhance our commercial strips, but now with the economy taking its toll on shopkeepers’ bottom lines, it’s even more important that we do what we can to encourage local shopping,” Cymbrowitz said.
Cymbrowitz told Sheepshead Bites that this stretch of Kings Highway is not covered by the Kings Highway Business Improvement District, which spends thousands annually on the stretch east of Ocean Parkway for beautification and revitalization. Meanwhile, the western portion’s more grisly aesthetic is turning off shoppers, evidenced by rapidly shuttering businesses. The antique lights – and other recent initiatives – are part of an effort to restore the area’s economic viability.
The assemblyman’s office explains:
Kings Highway and Ocean Parkway was the dividing line between a thriving shopping district and one that saw vacant stores multiplying quickly (currently at a historic level). The Kings Highway BID worked hard keeping the area east of Ocean Parkway viable, but its area did not include west of Ocean Parkway. In 2005 members of the surrounding community formed the Kings Highway Beautification Association with the goal of improving the Kings Highway shopping strip from Ocean Parkway to McDonald Avenue. They worked with the merchants to keep the street clean, even purchasing modern litter cans themselves to reduce litter, had graffiti removed and tried to attract new storekeepers. These concerned community residents are continuing their efforts,which is helping the small shops in this area, as well as all community members who live in the surrounding community. After listening to the concerns of the Kings Highway Beautification Association, and consulting with the NYC Departments of Transportation and Parks, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz allocated State “multi-modal” funds in 2007, as an investment in revitalizing this once very active commercial area. Multi-modal funding may only be used for capital improvements within a right-of-way such as a street or highway.