Looking back at the history of the BID
by Maria Thomson
Jul 05, 2012 | 713 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recently looking at our Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue, I remembered how it looked 25 years ago. The streets were strewn with litter and garbage, and the Jamaica Avenue Sanitation receptacles were overflowing. here was graffiti vandalism on most of roll down gates and side walls off of our Avenue.

At that time, a small core group of business and storeowners came together to improve our Jamaica Avenue from Dexter Court to 100th Street. In this core group the members of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation formed a BID Steering Committee. On this Committee were Chairman Jeff Lewis of Lewis’ of Woodhaven, Susan Blumstein, President of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation of Woodhaven Sewing, Victoria Spiezia of Vicky’s/M and M’s, Joseph R. Ruggiere of Ohlert Ruggiere, Joseph P. Schmidt Esq. Lawyer, Dorothea Schmidt of Schmidt’s Confectionery, Anthony Cambria of Columbia Federal Savings Bank, Frank D’Orazi of LeCordon Bleu Caterers, Howard Strauss of Eebee’s, James G. Halulakos of Halulakos Real Estate and me Maria A. Thomson, GWDC Board Member and then Executive Director.

Together we met with the assistance of the Department of Business Services Assistant Commissioner Barbara Wolffe, Director Doreen Greenwich, and especially Joyce Coward, along with our City Council members Walter Ward and Thomas V. Ognibene.

After close to eight years with a long process of approvals Woodhaven had their own Woodhaven Business Improvement District. The funds collected from all of our property owners then paid for the much-needed WBID services. Our WBID used the Myrtle Avenue BID as our model. Also, their President Herb Hockberg and their Executive Director Ted Renz assisted us greatly (and we still thank them for their support).

The many services that began were security, sanitation, marketing promotion, holiday promotion and decorations, operating expenses and management fees. Immediately there was a change in the appearance of our Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue. It was clean, the excess garbage bagged, graffiti vandalism removed, security services were evident and Woodhaven’s Shopping Strip was publicized and branded as the “Woodhaven BID” Taking Care of BIDness” (which was coined by Doug Gerowski of Ohlert Ruggiere).

The WBID sponsors many promotional events throughout the year. Since the inception of our WBID, we remain the only Business Improvement District in Southwest Queens, besides 3 in Jamaica.

The Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation administers the WBID and also advocates for and removes graffiti vandalism from commercial properties and apartment buildings off Jamaica Avenue. Yes, Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue was deteriorating and threatening, but now it is clean, 98 percent graffiti vandalism free with promotions and a shopping strip that we can be proud of. For this we can thank our property owners and those that worked very hard to secure this beneficial program for our Woodhaven.

Our Forest Parkway Library is a Cooling Center, during this or any future heat waves. Also our Forest Parkway Library will be serving free lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Monday through Friday for all youngsters under the age of 18. This program runs till September 5.

So remember fly our American flag every day, above all others, wear your lapel flags every day, Happy Birthday America! May God bless our armed forces and disabled veterans and may God bless America.

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