Last night was the Church Avenue BID‘s Annual Meeting, held at the Flatbush Reformed Church (890 Flatbush Avenue on the corner of Church Avenue). In attendance were BID Program Coordinator Melissa Skolnick, Assemblymember Jim Brennan, Community Board 14 Chairman Alvin Berk and District Manager Shawn Campbell, incoming Brooklyn Borough President and current NY State Senator Eric Adams, the 70th Precinct‘s Captain Anthony Sanseverino, BID merchants, board members, and neighbors, and Church Avenue BID Executive Director (as well as soon-to-be Executive Director of the Flatbush Avenue BID) Lauren Collins.
Lauren began by thanking the Flatbush Reformed Church for donating its space for the meeting, and throughout the year, as well as BID merchants Am Thai Bistro, Anarkali, Nine Chains, Mundo Supermarket, Dunkin Donuts, and Variedad De Productos Mexicanos Universal for supplying refreshments and Ditmas Fitness for offering a raffle prize. She also asked that businesses within the BID get in touch with her anytime at 718-282-2500 regarding problems large or small, and to let her know if you’re aware of anyone interested in an internship with the BID (they’re always looking) or a potential resident board member (someone living within the BID), which they need.
Finally, the BID is making an effort to get more involved in social media–so if you haven’t already, like them on Facebook and follow them on their brand new Twitter account to see the latest on the avenue.
Assemblymember Jim Brennan took the podium to commend the new partnership between the Church and Flatbush BIDs. He said that while city and state don’t do enough to keep Brooklyn commerce alive, thank Lauren, her staff, and all BID members deserve praise for doing so. CB14 Chairman Alvin Berk encouraged community members to contact District Manager Shawn Campbell as well as Lauren at the BID with any concerns, so as to keep improving the area as efficiently as possible.
Captain Sanseverino said he’s proud that crime in the Church Avenue impact zone is down over 20% this year, and that the precinct plans to keep the same enforcement in the area next year too. He also said that while the intersection of Church and Flatbush Avenues would always be a thorn in his side, that multiple precincts and the Taxi and Limousine Commission were working to vastly improve safety there.
Borough President-elect Eric Adams, who said he’d keep his comments brief so he could get a plate of Church Avenue merchants’ food as fast as possible, explained through a story about taking his daughter to college why Brooklyn–and, specifically, the development of this area–is so dear to his heart. After investing 18 years in his daughter, he said, and after wearing a bulletproof vest around Brooklyn for 22 years, he says he’s thrilled to see such a huge improvement in safety and services in the BID’s area. He said Brooklyn organizations should be putting funds back into the community, getting supplies and services they currently order from outside of the area, inside of the area instead.
“Marty Markowitz has done a great job, and I will never be able to fill his shoes,” Senator Adams said, “That’s why I’m bringing my own pair.”
Lauren said revenue for FY 2013 was up approx $70,000 from last year. Other successes included the completion of the From Roti to Rhubarb showcase of food on the avenue, multiple volunteer soup kitchen events with neighborhood volunteers who helped feed hundreds, working with the DOT to fix loading zones, and nearly 20 new, heavy duty trash cans (which along with the hard working cleaners from DOE Fund, help keep Church Avenue beautiful).
She said the Restore Church Avenue effort, in which several storefronts were improved (both cosmetically and structurally) with help from a $300,000 Main Street grant, which reimbursed up to 75% of merchants’ costs, has also been completed. Check out some of the transformations below:
Lauren said the BID’s top five goals in the upcoming year are:
1. Upgrading holiday lights on the strip, whether that means wrapped trees or something else. She said a holiday tree lighting is coming up on Saturday, December 21 at 7pm, with a tree donated by Shannon Nursery and decorations from Honeydew Drop Playhouse and The Children’s Place (and, hopefully, more from your crafty kids if they feel like helping out!), to which all neighbors are welcome.
2. Enabling additional storefront improvements. She said the BID has applied for $200k more in assistance, and should find out within the next few weeks whether they will be granted those funds–and that property owners have vowed hundreds of thousands of their own money to help, too.
3. Stepping up security in the BID. Lauren encouraged neighbors to attend the 70th Precinct’s Community Council meetings, which the 70th recently said they would try to have more often in the BID’s neck of the woods.
4. Add board members. Again, know of anyone who could be a resident member?
5. Increase the BID’s online presence. “We started a Facebook page last year,” Lauren said, “then realized we were out of date by having a Facebook.” Now the BID is on Twitter, and they invite you to join their mailing list for updates, too. One reason to follow their social media accounts, by the way, is to learn more about next year’s Make Music New York Caribbean music festival in the BID–about which greater detail will be given, online, in the near future.
Congrats to the BID on an incredibly successful year. We look forward to hearing about and seeing the evidence of what you’ve accomplished a year from now!