Small Biz Fear New Jackson Heights BID will Hurt Diversity

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Members and supporters of the Roosevelt Avenue Community Alliance rallied at Corona Plaza on September 8. (Photo by Angy Altamirano via The Queens Courier)

The proposal to extend a business improvement district (BID) into Jackson Heights and Corona in Queens has local business owners concerned about losing the area’s diversity.

In an article for The Queens Courier, Angy Altamirano finds mixed reactions to the Jackson Heights-Corona BID, which is part of Councilwoman Julissa Ferrera’s New Deal to improve a troubled stretch of Roosevelt Avenue.

Members of the Roosevelt Avenue Community Alliance, a group that hopes to stop the BID, fear it will oust the small businesses that line Roosevelt Avenue, raise rents and drive out the immigrant community.

“Roosevelt Avenue is mega diversity,” said Freddy Castiblanco, owner of Terraza 7, a Jackson Heights bar. “We can’t allow the standardization of projects like the BID. We are here to say no to the whole process of gentrification and expulsion of our diversity.”

But the 82nd Street Partnership, which announced in March its plan to create the Jackson Heights-Corona BID by expanding the current one that ends at 82nd Street to 114th Street, says the new BID will actually help small businesses.

 “This is really a small business survival strategy,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership. “This is an opportunity for the small businesses on Roosevelt avenue to make an investment that goes right back into the neighborhood.”

Taylor added that BIDs have been successful in other immigrant communities, and that more public meetings are planned for the coming weeks.

One Comment

  1. JH Homeowner and Voter says:

    Roosevelt Avenue desperately needs improvement. It is a complete and utter eyesore. The BID will not magically transform the avenue or the neighborhood over night, nor will it hurt the small businesses that are currently there. It will, however, work to improve the quality of life issues that many residents and voters care about. By creating a BID, business owners will be showing a commitment to their community. Business owners who join the BID acknowledge the need for a cleaner, safer, and brighter Roosevelt Avenue. The BID will work to create a more enjoyable shopping experience along Roosevelt Avenue. Opponents of the BID are committing a dis-service to the residents of their communities and they are doing a disservice to their own businesses as shoppers who are turned off by the conditions along Roosevelt will continue to do business elsewhere.

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