Monday, February 23, 2015

Court & Smith Street BID Steering Committee Hosts Two Events This Week To Give Community Chance To Learn More About Plan

As you may know, a group of local property owners, commercial tenants, and residents have recently formed a  Court and  Smith Street Business Improvement District Steering Committee in order to establish a BID in our neighborhood. Their goal is "to create a cleaner, safer, and more vibrant Court and Smith Streets."

According to Tom Williams, who has been working with the steering committee, much progress has been made.   Tom wrote to PMFA:  "There are three basic phases to setting up a BID. You can read about them in detail here but in summation, a group of local property owners, commercial tenants, and residents comes together and sets up an organization (the steering committee) which then draft the district plan. 
The second phase is to document local support. When enough local support has been demonstrated, the BID formation moves into the final, legislative phase. Right now we’re nearing the end of phase two; we’ve been gathering signed statements of support from the community for the past several months. We’ve made great progress and our expectations and timelines have been exceeded. What we need to do now is gain those remaining signatures we need to demonstrate sufficient support for the BID."

The steering committee is going to be hosting two informal events this week to give the community an opportunity to look at the proposed plan, to get an update on its status as well as to ask questions.
The first event will be held at 61 Local, 61 Bergen Street, on Tuesday, February 24 between 11 and noon. There will be free coffee.

The second event is scheduled for Thursday, February 26 between 5 and 7 pm at Angry Wade's, 222 Smith Street. (The Committee will buy you a beer.)

For all information regarding the proposed BID, click here.


Anonymous said...

Funny. I've lived here since 1989 and no one has shown me anything to sign about a BID. Funny that these events are at two rather newish establishments that involve strollers and or alcohol.
What could be improved? More drugstores and banks? More giant weird buildings? More baby clothing stores?
Seriously, what will this BID be doing and why do they need legislation? Are they in cohoots with Lightstone?
I don't get it. Do I hear a death knell for Mom and Pop?

Anonymous said...

I hope the organizers of this endeavor hold a meeting that is in a more convenient location for those that live or have businesses in the south end of the proposed BID. I noticed on a map that I saw that at least two large condominium buildings on Court are included in the district - if I lived in one of those buildings I would certainly want to be able to attend a meeting since I would be forced to pay a fee for the BID.

I've also lived here since 1989 and this is the first I've heard about this proposal.

chance bliss said...

i think the choice of venues has more to do with space and central location than with whether or not it's a newer establishment.

as such, 61 local can accommodate lots of people, while it has made itself known as an unofficial gathering point for lots of different independent business owners and creative freelancers in the neighborhood.

angry wade's, i suspect, is more about the central location, than anything else. it's certainly not a hipster joint, so nobody would be priced out by going there.

Trumbull Bully said...

Bully here..

While I certainly do not claim to have my finger on the pulse of the neighborhood (I'm not long for this neighborhood, anyway), the first two Anonymous commenters could only have missed hearing about the BID if they are totally unaware of what is going on in the neighborhood itself. Do you not shop locally? Do you not read this blog? Do you not chat it up with Joanie D'Amico? Stop trying to find some evil motive in everything.

As an aside, I wouldn't exactly call Wade's stroller-friendly.

bored at work said...

Here is the bottom line - the BID provides supplemental services that the city cannot or will not provide. Usually, that involves sanitation (emptying of trash cans) and marketing. It represents the interests of property owners, who pay an assessment on top of the regular city real estate taxes for the services the BID provides. In the end, of course, the higher taxes are passed on to the tenants who will pass them on to their customers. Condo or co-op owners will pay, too.

If you are a resident of a nearby building that is not in the BID catchment area, or a shopper/visitor, you will not pay more taxes, and might even benefit from the services of the BID.

FWIW, there are lots of signs about the BID proposals on stores on Smith Street and elsewhere. Its been in the planning stages for a couple of years.

Anonymous said...

News to me. Was this choice signatures or door to door ? No ones spoken to me or anyone I know about this. Must've been on a need to know basis. Who choose the venues??

Anonymous said...

Thank you to those who explained. The bid. Yes I do live and shop here on court and smith. Since 1989 and I read pmfa. Perhaps my end of smith isn't BID worthy hence no info at all. But if the BID can enlist jump suited workers to police the gross misuse of the flashy new recycling bins, great. But why banners and signage? The Rite Aid signs aren't enough? And after all those Lightstone tennants get over sticker shock they'll need to see those signs easily thru the toxic fog, and go buy an aspirin.

Anonymous said...

Hello all -

I'm working with the BID steering committee and I'd like to jump in here and answer a few questions that have been raised.

The idea for this BID began with a number of local businesses, property owners, and residents who saw a need for additional services beyond what the city was providing. We feel the pressure of rising rents rising and city fees and fines and we believe that a BID would help our businesses and property values by creating a nicer, cleaner, safer, and all around more pleasant Court and Smith Streets that people want to shop and live in. Our aims are the same as most people in the area; we love Carroll Gardens / Cobble Hill / Boerum Hill and we want this area to be as nice as it can be.

As I said, we're local members of this community. Some of us have been here for decades. Another commentator mentioned steering committee member Joan D'Amico, of D'Amico Coffee (located in the neighborhood since 1948).

These locations for the two recent info sessions were chosen because of convenience of location and because they had plenty of space for us. Our two public meetings last year were held at Marco Polo Restaurant and the Invisible Dog Art Center.

The services that the BID will provide - Sanitation and Maintenance, Beautification and Greenification, Street-scaping and Decorations, Community & Business Marketing & Promotion, and Public Safety Advocacy - were not chosen at random but are what the community said they most desired in a survey we conducted last year. The signs and banners, as one commentator inquired about, is mostly about seasonal holiday displays. Lights and things to help make the area more festive.

If you haven't heard about us yet, that's on us. The biggest challenge in setting up a BID is to get the word out to the entire community. And in a community as large and diverse as this, it's challenging. That's why we so thrilled that PMFA wrote about us and we're happy you're now aware of us. We want you to be aware of us and we want your input. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors. Check out our website - This BID is a community affair and if you're a member of the community we want your involvement. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss further, don't hesitate to reach out to us at

Anonymous said...

The reality is that all businesses in the BID zone will have to pay higher taxes and those extra funds will be controlled by the self-appointed BID organizers.

Last year one of the BID organizers, made the false calm against the NY State Gowanus Industrial Historic District, that it is bad because it would be more expensive to the property owners. The Historic district didn't assess owners in any way, but offered tax credits for caring out repair and restoration work on buildings.

Now the same people who stood against giving Gowanus business owners the option for participating in state and federal tax BREADK, here wants to tax Smith and Court business to continue to pursue their own interests, which is their own personal political control in the neighborhood.

All should be careful about what is actually being offered here and what personal autonomy you will give up in addition to the extra taxation. The BID group would speak for you politically whether you agree with them or not.

Besides, most businesses here are quite adept at independently putting out their own flower pots and decorations as they see fit for their own market their business.

Anonymous said...

KIn the past I know that some of the smaller businesses were unable to contribute to holiday decorations so being obligated to pay this fee may hurt small businesses. Nevertheless, these same businesses were always willing to donate goods and services to support the community, notably the public schools.

It sounds like one of the objectives is to turn out neighborhood into even more of an expensive tourist trap. I just hope this doesn't end up hurting the small businesses that provide necessary goods and services to our community.