I was invited on December 18th, to a Realtor’s open forum at Munroe College on Main Street pertaining to the amazing New Rochelle BID Program. It was conducted by Mayor Noam Bramson, Mr. Ralph DiBart, the Executive Director (and only employee), and Mr. Marc Jerome, Chairperson of the BID Program, and also Executive Vice President of Munroe College . What is a BID? Short for Business Improvement District, the New Rochelle BID was initiated in 2000, and is comprised of approximately 800 business owners , approximately 300 property owners who voluntarily pay an additional tax charge to be a member, which in turn brings forth an assessment of some $320,000 annually. The BID’s prime goal is greater economic development, new business and new
investment. The BID program has facilitated some 150 Million in private development in the Main Street area. The program runs from Pintard Avenue to Echo, and is responsible for approximately 30-40 free events yearly drawing families and their children to the downtown area.
For example, there will be a New Year’s celebration at the New Roc Center on December 31st at 10:30 am – 12:30 p.m. with face-painting for the younger ones, and balloons galore. This is the third annual event, and is designed to mimic Times Square but on an obviously smaller scale and for the families! Who initiated the summer music programs on the Library Green? The BID program of course!
Did you know that there will be 6 major restaurants opening around Restaurant Row (Division Street) in the early part of 2013? That there is a restaurant development program in effect to help restaurant owners lower their operating costs, obtain financing if required, and to help implement energy savings measure and so much more?
Were you aware that the BID program turned around the vacated Lillian Vernon Building, the Bloomingdale’s Building and the old Librett Building? By putting together developers, valuable assistance, expert advice, the Lillian Vernon Building (which was vacant for 3 years or so) now features some 90 beautiful condos, the Bloomingdale building (which was vacant for 25 years and offered some 100,000 square feet) now has beautiful loft style condos, and the 25000 square foot Librett building which was also vacant for three years is now the site of a new Munroe College dormitory with plans for a second dormitory on the way.
With a seven day uniformed litter clean-up program, New Rochelle is determined to help its businesses succeed, and from the open forum held yesterday at the Munroe College, it was informative, inspirational and very impressive. The BID program has also helped advise those building owners of historic and beautiful buildings on the restoration of the buildings’ facades. Once beautiful terracotta buildings were perhaps whitewashed over the years, and now, with the help and advice of the BID program, have restored the facades to their original beauty. One such building is the Hallen School located on Centre Avenue.
New Rochelle has always been known for its artists, and so another important aspect of the non-profit BID program is to encourage artists to live/work in downtown New Rochelle. 81 Centre Avenue is another such building which was once uninhabitable and the beautiful art deco building now houses artists and their works of art. The BID program helps business owners by way of loans ig eligible, etc. to utilize their unused square footage to perhaps offer artists’ lofts for both work/live areas. There is so much happening in downtown New Rochelle, and it was a great event, made all the more enjoyable as it was catered by the Munroe Culinary artists, and there were raffles with gift certificates provided by the Gnarly Vine and many more!
It was a wonderful informative meeting, and I am proud to live in New Rochelle.
New Rochelle is GREAT!