Director of Marketing and Business Services
For Immediate Release:
JAMAICA CENTER BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT HOLDS THEIR 42nd ANNUAL MEETING
Jamaica, Queens, November 9, 2021 – The Jamaica Center BID celebrated their 42nd annual meeting today in a now familiar setting, via Zoom!
Adam Behnke, Chief Business Officer at Queensboro FC, was the keynote speaker for this special event. He spoke about the plans of the team to build a stadium on the York College campus and the expected influx of new customers it would bring on game days to downtown businesses. Outgoing District 27 Council Member I. Daneek Miller, the Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Thomas Gretch, and the BID’s own Clean Team sanitation member Froylan Tehuitzil all received an honorary certificate from the BID for their unique contributions to downtown Jamaica and the business community.
Executive Director of the Jamaica Center BID, Jennifer Furioli, provided a programmatic update on behalf of the Business Improvement District. In addition to contributing 16,923 hours of sanitation work in FY21, the BID removed 31,247 instances of graffiti from storefronts and public fixtures downtown, an increase of 37% from the year prior. The BID also supplemented the cleanliness of downtown by partnering with local civic groups and other businesses to tidy side streets and public spaces not included within the BID’s boundaries, but immediately adjacent. Abuela Neighborhood Maintenance, Friends of Rufus King Park, Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, SE Queens Cleanup, Lindon Studios and Cambria Heights Florist were all groups or businesses the BID partnered with in the last year for additional “cleaning and greening.” At the Annual Meeting, the BID also announced a new partnership with City Clean Up Corps to do a series of additional “side street cleanups” on weekends from December to mid-January.
In addition to cleaning the downtown, the BID reported that it continued working to beautify the area, noting tree plantings and refurbishment of several tree pits that had occurred in the past year thanks to funding from Council Member Gennaro (District 24), expertise and implementation from the NYC Horticultural Society, and supplementary flower plantings paid for by the JFK International Air Terminal. The BID, in partnership with the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and Save America’s Clocks also made progress restoring the historic street clock at the corner of Union Hall and Jamaica Avenue. The clock, which was removed in June for a complete restoration and repair after years of neglect, is expected to be returned to its rightful place by calendar year’s end. Council Member Miller and the Department of Small Business Services paid for the project.
On the business support front, the BID continues to focus on the success of a key program that was introduced to the downtown Jamaica community last year in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, JBID-Alerts!, a cell phone notification program where the BID can rapidly notify businesses or property owners if there is a district-wide emergency on Jamaica Avenue or if timely Coronavirus news affecting businesses is released. Over the past year, participation in JBID-Alerts! grew by 22%. After Hurricane Ida, with the help of JBID-Alerts!, the BID was able to immediately send special emergency recovery and grant information into the hands of 124 businesses and quickly poll the business community on damage sustained.
The BID also distributed over 7,500 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and hundreds of bottles of hand sanitizer since last November to businesses and received a Strategic Impact Grant “SIG” from New York City’s Department of Small Business Services which allowed it to provide support to an additional 193 storefronts just outside of the main BID boundaries. In total, the SIG grant resulted in 386 individual business support “touchpoints” that included helping businesses apply for loans and grants in partnership with the Queens Chamber, raising awareness regarding nearby free business counseling centers, and coordinating marketing videos in partnership with video content creator and storyteller Alan Goldsher.
Business safety was a key issue during the pandemic. The Jamaica Merchants Business Trespass Program was created in partnership with Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the NYPD 103rd Precinct, elected officials and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz’s office which the BID signed on to be part of to help businesses that were receiving severe harassment. Since its launch, 14 new businesses have signed up.
Downtown’s growing retail environment was the final focus of the meeting. Ms. Furioli pointed out the ribbon-cutting parade the BID held in February to celebrate new businesses that opened during (or immediately before) the pandemic. At the parade, five businesses were feted by a New Orleans-style brass band and community leaders waiving ribbons and holding I Love Jamaica Ave signs, while each business cut a celebratory ribbon. Additional new businesses that have opened since (or are expected to open shortly) include Target, Jollibee’s, coffee and pastry shop Avenue Café NYC, the Edge School of the Arts and BK Lobster.
Moving into the next year, the BID will focus on continued restoration of the Avenue’s tree canopy, helping businesses understand and deal with City capital projects (notably the conversion of Parsons Public Space into a permanent plaza at Parsons and Jamaica Avenue, and the Department of Transportation’s recent installation of a pilot busway project on Jamaica Avenue), and welcoming residents of the many new apartment buildings to their local shopping corridor.
The Annual Meeting concluded with final remarks from President Michael Hirschhorn.
To learn more about the Jamaica Center BID and stay up-to-date on all happenings on Jamaica Avenue, make sure to visit jamaica.nyc, sign up for our weekly newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District (BID)
Founded as the Jamaica District Management Association in 1979, the Jamaica Center BID is central to one of New York City’s fastest growing communities. Jamaica Center BID is the proud home to national and regional retailers, several major cultural and educational institutions as well as City, State and Federal Offices, and more than 400 businesses. The Jamaica Center BID seeks to maintain Jamaica Center as a thriving business hub and premier destination to shop, work, live and play. For more info visit jamaica.nyc.