Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association Goes Legit

Board members Kareem Dolah and John DeWind of the Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association.

CROWN HEIGHTS — A neighborhood group in Crown Heights is taking its community organizing a step further by incorporating and registering as a non-profit.

A group of residents and merchants filed and incorporated Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association (NAIA) in late October. NAIA’s ten-member board is moving forward with plans to improve the quality of life along the Nostrand Avenue retail corridor.

The community-based group first organized in March 2018 with a budget of $500 from five area merchants. That experiment led to what is now a 25-person crew of interns and volunteers. The scope of the area includes Nostrand Avenue from Empire Boulevard to Fulton Street and its side streets.

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Part of the geographical boundaries will overlap with the decades-old Nostrand Avenue Merchants Association encompassing Crown Heights and parts of Flatbush.

“The idea [is] that the neighborhood was changing and that it would make sense to take part in that process so that the change is positive,” wrote Executive Director John DeWind in an email to Bklyner.

Since March NAIA has planned litter pick-up events and brought garbage bins along Nostrand Avenue. Welcoming new vendors with flowers matches the long-term goals to plant trees and build benches along the Avenue.

Board members are looking at participatory budgeting in the 35th council district to fund their beautification project.

“I am now what is called a budget delegate in that process,” said DeWind.

In the meantime, the group partners with other Crown Heights civic groups. NAIA collaborated with the Lincoln Place Block Association to help them win second-place in the borough’s Greenest Block in Brooklyn competition. They’ve worked with Black Lady Theatre to produce “first-rate theatre,” according to DeWind.

Most recently the organization campaigned with Friends of Brower Park for more dog safety after an unleashed dog attacked a ten-pound poodle mix over the summer.

NAIA profiles residents and businesses in Crown Heights on their website to celebrate the diversity of the community. The association will take an interest in community issues such as zoning, rents, permits and construction, according to the website.

“Way down the road we might want to become a BID, but that is up to the merchants on Nostrand Avenue,” wrote DeWind.

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  1. This is wonderful news. Hopefully, NAIA can work with the Economic Development Committee CB 8 and Friends of CB 8 to use NYESD funds to expand the scope.


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