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General Council Gets BID Update

The front line of the Port Washington business community met with the General Council of Homeowners recently. BID President Stretch Ryder, BID Executive Director Roy Smitheimer and Chamber of Commerce Vice President Jake Eisenman reviewed the BID's vision and mission statement and described its goals, strategies and tactics for revitalizing and improving Port's downtown area. (Chamber of Commerce President Warren Schein was unable to attend the meeting.)

Roy Smitheimer explained the mission of the BID: it is a not for profit organization of property owners and tenants located in the designated business area of Port Washington. The Port BID is the second largest one in area on Long Island, totaling five square miles, encompassing 500 commercial properties. The BID is committed to improve the business health of the district through marketing, promotion, physical improvements and enhanced services.

He then explained how it worked. The 11 member District Managers Association (DMA) consists of three appointed municipal representatives of which two represent the villages of Baxter Estates and Manorhaven and the third one represents the town of North Hempstead, two tenants and six landlords/owners.The DMA sets goals, develops broad strategies to support the goals and develops the specific tactics or programs to support the strategies. Throughout the meeting, Messrs. Ryder, Smitheimer and Eisenman further refined these concepts as follows:

Goals

  • to retain and recruit businesses with special attention given to filling vacancies with the right businesses and for the long term.

    As an example of ways to attract the right type of business, Mr. Ryder cited the Consumer Survey Audit. Conducted by the BID. This study asked Port residents what types of businesses they wanted more of and less of in town. Mr. Ryder pointed out that it's an excellent marketing tool and also helps to prevent businesses from opening up and then having to close because of a lack of knowledge of the community's needs and desires.

Strategies

  • create atmosphere (i.e. antiques, restaurants, clothing, marine.) Jake Eisenman noted that over the past 25 years, Port has become known for its restaurants and antiques and collectibles shops.

  • create a database and provide demographics so that when a business owner is interested in coming to Port, the information will be available at the click of a mouse button.

  • efforts to unify the BID area through signage.

  • develop the idea that Port Washington is a destination, through promoting and advertising its business community.

Tactics

  • signage

  • security, police force and private

  • cleanliness; garbage, street and sidewalk

  • decorations; banners, holiday lighting

  • financial assistance; county, state, BID

Image

The panel described this as "What is your image of PW and what would you like it to be? "Image" includes ideas like waterfront, unique shops, basic needs, recreation, transportation. The panel stressed the importance of maintaining a balanced community between the business and residential interests.

Accomplishments

In its first year, the BID has:

  • implemented enhanced sidewalk sanitation program. The sidewalks throughout the main commercial thoroughfares in the district are power washed and swept.

  • advocated to have all the sidewalks on Main Street redone, which hadn't been done in 50 years.

  • installed 10 minute free shopper parking at onehour meters on Main Street and Port Blvd.

  • established a referral service for money and technical assistance for small businesses.

  • had an application accepted into Nassau County's Operation Downtown Program which is designed to help Nassau's business districts by providing money for a variety of infrastructure and beautification projects

  • conducted the BID Shopping Study

  • continued its ongoing program to purchase overhead holiday skyway lights

  • made it to the Internet and can now be reached at GPWBID@banet.net. And future plans include developing a Website.

  • been active in community events; partial sponsor of Chamber of Commerce's street fair and Pride in Port.

  • provided holiday cooperative advertising at a reduced rate for the businesses in town.

  • established a communitywide business newsletter.

Future plans include:

  • more BID networking with groups like the General Council, Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington and civic groups.

  • Continuing efforts to give Port a more nautical ambiance in its business community.

  • the installation of community entrance signs that read "Welcome to Port Washington."

  • intensifying efforts for retention and recruitment of new businesses with major marketing efforts.

  • working with TONH and villages in BID for uniform sign ordinance.

  • amending current zones laws restricting open cafes

  • continuing efforts to improve shopper parking.

Generally the panel said it wants to make the business district more pedestrian-friendly.




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