WHY A BID??

As you walk through one of New York City’s commercial corridors, you may notice the seasonal flowers, colorful banners, or particularly clean sidewalks. You may not realize it, but these are often the signs that a Business Improvement District (BID) is hard at work in the area and improving your experience of the neighborhood. BIDs work every day to make 76 NYC commercial and industrial districts better places to live, work, and do business. A Steering Committee consisting of property owners, business owners, and community members on Third Avenue have initiated an effort to form a Third Avenue Bay Ridge Business Improvement District. The Steering Committee believes that a BID is the most effective way to define, stabilize and strengthen the avenue for years to come. The BID formation aims to unlock the long-term potential of Bay Ridge Third Avenue, ensuring that the corridor maintains its vibrance and economic viability in perpetuity. We hope to share some of the successes of NYC BIDs, with the aim of of illuminating the potential assets a BID could bring to our neighborhood.

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Walking tours in the Flatiron District:

The Flatiron/ 23rd Street Partnership sponsors free walking tours of the historic Flatiron District every Sunday, year-round. Join a professional guide on a 90-minute journey through the neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks. Click HERE to read more.

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Public Artwork on North Flatbush Avenue

The North Flatbush Business Improvement District recently announced the installation of Brooklyn artist William Soltis’s “Under the Sun,” a sculpture constructed of welded metal, as part of a partnership with NYC Park’s Art in the Parks program. This installation will help facilitate the increased vibrancy, hospitality, and cultural relevance of the North Flatbush commercial corridor, complementing the BID’s other recent efforts, which include the installation of large-scale planters, tree planting and maintenance, and additional horticulture services. This installation demonstrates how improved public spaces bring increased amenities to the commercial corridors, highlighting the behind-the-scenes efforts of New York City BIDs to make New York City a more safe and inviting place. To read more click HERE.

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Healthy Communities Initiative on Myrtle Avenue

A number of the Myrtle Avenue BID’s neighbors struggle to meet their family’s daily needs on their budgets. The BID runs a number of food access programs to make sure people have access to fresh, affordable food. For the past three years, the Myrtle Avenue BID has partnered with City Harvest and leaders from three public housing communities to operate a fresh produce pantry where they distribute 12,000 lbs of fresh produce to families each month. Additionally, the Myrtle Avenue BID and its partner organization, Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project LDC, created a hyperlocal version of the existing Benefit Kitchen app for their neighborhood, to help community members access the local benefits they qualify for. Twelve merchants included offers like reduced-cost eye exams, health and wellness services, and discounts at local pharmacies. The BID conducted an extensive marketing campaign and trained volunteers to use the app, connecting more than 100 lower-income residents to the app and benefits.As a community-based organization with ears to the ground, the BID knows what resources its community needs, and is well positioned to meet these community needs. To read more, click HERE and HERE.

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Compliance assistance in Park Slope

Park Slope 5th Avenue hosted an SBS compliance walkthrough* in their district. BID staff walked along the corridor with SBS staff to help educate local business owners and raise awareness about common business violations. At least five BIDs referred businesses to SBS compliance consultations in FY18, and SBS staff conducted more than 2,000 consultations citywide, saving merchants an estimated $22 million in fines.

SBS offers no-cost compliance consultations to help businesses avoid receiving common violations; learn more at nyc.gov/bizconsult

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Urban Art Gallery in Hudson Square

Experience Hudson Square through a new large scale urban art gallery along Varick Street. Hudson Square Canvas features original artworks from four contemporary artists, whose styles compliment Hudson Square’s values and identity. Use their digital map to explore the different artworks and look out for the blue squares on the street for photo opportunities. Click HERE to read more.

WHY A BID??

As you walk through one of New York City’s commercial corridors, you may notice the seasonal flowers, colorful banners, or particularly clean sidewalks. You may not realize it, but these are often the signs that a Business Improvement District (BID) is hard at work in the area and improving your experience of the neighborhood. BIDs are the stewards of many of the city’s most vibrant places across the five boroughs. BIDs work every day to make 76 NYC commercial and industrial districts better places to live, work, and do business. BIDs are small business advocates, government liaisons, community leaders, and neighborhood champions working to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. A Steering Committee consisting of property owners, business owners, and community members on Third Avenue have initiated an effort to form a Third Avenue Bay Ridge Business Improvement District. The BID formation aims to unlock the long-term potential of Bay Ridge Third Avenue, ensuring that the corridor maintains its vibrance and economic viability in perpetuity. We hope to share some of the successes of NYC BIDs, with the aim of of illuminating the potential assets a BID could bring to our neighborhood.

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Sidewalk Sales at the Jamaica Center BID:

Normally, businesses are not allowed by law to put goods out on the sidewalk in front of their stores. Several times a year, though, the Jamaica Center BID gets permits from the City to hold special Sidewalk Sales days. During these special weekends, businesses can put goods out up to 3 feet in front of their shops, even in restricted areas. Businesses can display their wares, host special bargains, plus offer give-aways and entertainment. Shoppers and shop owners alike look forward to these Sidewalk Sales each year.

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Merchant resource guides in Noho

The Noho Business Improvement District created a resource guide for businesses, including City Agency materials and BID information. The guide helps connect district businesses to resources, avoid fines, and learn more about the BID. BID staff hand-delivered the guide to 120 ground floor retailers, making connections with store managers and gathering contact info for 80% of businesses in their district. The BID now distributes some form of branded literature to each business every month.

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Public space improvements in the Flatiron District

Many BIDs have robust public space management programs, with the goal of enhancing the physical environment and aesthetics of their districts. The Flatiron District coordinates and implements a variety of streetscape and beautification initiatives. The BID maintains the The Flatiron Public Plazas, providing cleaning, public safety, horticulture, and maintenance of plaza amenities. The BID's Visitor Information Cart, stationed on the North Plaza, provides maps and other useful pieces of BID collateral. In 2008, the Partnership conducted a comprehensive master planning process for streetscape and beautification projects. The Master Plan serves as a blueprint for potential short- and long-range projects. Thanks to the advocacy of the BID, to date 50 trees have been planted in the district, 67 bike racks have been installed, and 48 new energy-efficient light poles have been installed. Click HERE to read more.

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Local solutions to the opioid crisis in the Bronx

BIDs in the Bronx have been taking strides to address opioid and substance misuse in their communities. Third Avenue (Bronx) helped establish the Bronx Opioid Collective Impact Project, which has advocated for more than $8M in funding to address quality-of-life issues. In partnership with Council Members and NYC Department of Health, Third Avenue (Bronx) and Fordham Road coordinated trainings for business owners and residents to learn how to administer naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. Collectively, the two BIDs have trained and distributed more than 900 naloxone kits to small businesses. Click HERE to read more.

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Increasing Digital Literacy in Downtown Manhattan:

Downtown Alliance launched a digital innovation grant program to help local small businesses become more competitive in the rapidly changing world of e-commerce. A Lower Manhattan jeweler won the inaugural grant of $10,000, which it used to redesign its website; the business has seen twice as much website traffic and a 50% increase in Instagram followers. The BID will expand the program this year with additional grants and a workshop series. Click HERE to read more.


WHY A BID??

As you walk through one of New York City’s commercial corridors, you may notice the seasonal flowers, colorful banners, or particularly clean sidewalks. You may not realize it, but these are often the signs that a Business Improvement District (BID) is hard at work in the area and improving your experience of the neighborhood. BIDs are the stewards of many of the city’s most vibrant places across the five boroughs. BIDs work every day to make 76 NYC commercial and industrial districts better places to live, work, and do business. BIDs are small business advocates, government liaisons, community leaders, and neighborhood champions working to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. A Steering Committee consisting of property owners, business owners, and community members on Third Avenue have initiated an effort to form a Third Avenue Bay Ridge Business Improvement District. The BID formation aims to unlock the long-term potential of Bay Ridge Third Avenue, ensuring that the corridor maintains its vibrance and economic viability in perpetuity. We hope to share some of the successes of NYC BIDs, in the hopes of illuminating the potential assets a BID could bring to our neighborhood.

Homeless Outreach and Workforce Development in East Midtown:

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A few BIDs contract with service providers to conduct homeless outreach in their districts. East Midtown Partnership has partnered with BRC for more than 16 years to bring men and women off the streets. In addition, the BID contracts sanitations ervices to The Doe Fund, which employs individuals who were formerly incarcerated or had substance abuse problems. Between these two programs,East Midtown estimates that they have positively affected more than 2,000 lives since the BID’s formation. The BID recognizes and honors the hard work of these individuals each year at a holiday luncheon. More info HERE.

Retail attraction on Myrtle Avenue:

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Many Business Improvement Districts have retail attraction programs. The Myrtle Avenue BID works with property owners and real estate brokers to bring in commercial tenants that suit the needs of the local population. Since the inception of its retail attraction program in 1999, the BID has seen vacancy rates drop from over 20% to a low of 5%. For more information, click HERE.

Sharing local deals and offers in the Flatiron District:

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Businesses in the Flatiron BID can upload their own deals and offers directly to the BID’s website. This page then gets shared out to the neighborhood and beyond, so the BID website becomes the main source of information on local specials for residents and shoppers, benefiting businesses and customers alike. Click HERE to check it out!

Small Business Advocacy

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BIDs are powerful advocates against policy that negatively impacts their member businesses: Mayor De Blasio’s “Clear Curbs” program, which launched a pilot in March of 2018, eliminated parking on both sides of the street in select commercial corridors during the morning and evening rush. Clear Curbs proved to be extremely detrimental to businesses in the pilot areas, reducing the accessibility of businesses and scaring away customers with militant enforcement of parking regulations. Many businesses found themselves losing hundreds of dollars a day in profit as a result of the pilot. Thanks to the relentless advocacy of BIDs in the affected areas on behalf of their member businesses, the pilot program was repealed after five months. Click HERE and HERE to read more.

Value in BIDs

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Q: Is there concrete data to prove that BIDs work?

A: See below, from the NYC Department of Small Business Services annual trends report from FY17. This chart shows total growth in sales in districts with BIDs versus the New York City average. Check out the NYC Department of Small Business Service’s FY17 BID Trends Report for more information about New York City BIDs!

Responses to Questions Posed at Public Meeting

Greetings! We wanted to take the opportunity to share responses to the questions that were posed at our recent Public Meetings in regards to the BID formation. Please see below:

Q: How can I be ensured that the proposed BID will offer my store services? The Merchants of Third did not do very much up at the North End of district.

A: BIDs are legally required to provide services to all properties paying into the BID. The BID Administration with oversight from the Board of Directors are charged with delivering services equitably across the district. For example, agreed upon and approved sanitation services will be executed throughout the district. For site-specific events, there may be potential circumstances and logistics that prevent events from being produced in certain locations due to any number of reasons-construction, public transportation access, traffic mitigation, etc. For example, the Third Avenue Festival used to be 30 blocks long, until New York City shortened it to 20 to keep the cost of police and sanitation down. Our legislators at the time were able to add 4 more blocks, but could not get the whole 30 blocks back. The Summer Stroll was able to add the 6800 block the last two years.

Q: Will 69th/Bay Ridge Avenue be included in the BID?

A: Because Bay Ridge Avenue houses a significant number of business and commercial continuity, this proposal includes properties addressed 236 through 268 Bay Ridge Avenue

 Q: I own a large property. Is there an assessment maximum for buildings?

A: No. When deciding on an assessment formula, the Steering Committee realized that putting a cap on the amount that a single property pays would mean disproportionately burdening smaller properties, which they explicitly did not want to do. However, the $200 base fee does work to lower the proportion that large buildings will pay. A base fee ensures that everyone is paying a minimum because of the fixed costs of running a non-profit. 

The proposed assessment total will not exceed $560k/year. An assessment can always be billed at less than the max amount if so desired and approved by the finance committee and board of directors. This is generated by the proposed assessment formula that is: $200 base fee per taxable lot in the district plus $.127 per commercial square foot and $27.83 per linear foot of 3rd Avenue frontage, or side street frontage if included building is on side street and not a corner property. 

The good news is that large buildings on the avenue that have never contributed to the vibrancy of the district will now make a financial contribution.

Q: I have reservations about supporting something I cannot withdraw from if desired at a later date.

A: This is an understandable concern. BID formation aims to be equitable in its assessments and services/programs delivery. In order to do this for a place-based organization, all properties within the proposed district are subject to assessment. Individual entities cannot elect to participate or abstain. 

However, individual entities are not without representation. The members of the BID Board of Directors are elected as representatives of their stakeholder groups -- for example, a property owner board member represents the property owners in the district. The board is responsible for governing the organization, for hiring any paid staff, and for representing their constituencies. If stakeholders feel that they are not being properly represented by a member of the board, they have the opportunity to vote out that board member. Additionally property owners can petition the City to dissolve the BID, if stakeholders feel the organization is no longer needed.

A note about board composition: 

In the BID model, a board of directors is elected by members of the BID. Because property owners pay the BID assessment on their Department of Finance bill, property owners must comprise the majority of the board. A BID board has a minimum of 13 members, and therefore a minimum of 7 property owners. Other board members must include at least one commercial tenant, one residential tenant, and four representatives from New York City -- NYC Department of Small Business services represents the Mayor, plus a representative of the NYC Comptroller, the Borough President, and the City Council member for that district. 

Q: What is the formality or process in dissolving the BID if merchants and property owners are not satisfied?

A: The Board of Directors, who represent stakeholders in the district, can vote to initiate legislative action to dissolve a BID. Additionally property owners can petition the City to dissolve the BID, if stakeholders feel the organization is no longer needed. Finally, the district’s City Council representative can intervene and initiate a BID’s dissolution. 

 Q: Bay Ridge is a split community: who accesses the community’s separate needs, and how are funds “separately” allocated? 

A: The BID Administration with oversight from the Board of Directors are charged with delivering services equitably across the district, in response to the distinct needs of different parts of the district. The BID Administration relies on the Board’s intrinsic knowledge as stakeholders within the Third Avenue corridor (see above for board composition) to advise on these varying needs. 

Q: How much transparency is there, and how much input do the commercial renters or owners have to this? 

A: In order for the BID to go through, NYC Department of Small Business Services needs to see “broad-based support” across all categories of stakeholder, including commercial renters. 

Q: Who will run the BID?

A: YOU will — with the assistance of a paid professional. Third Avenue stakeholders are encouraged to participate and decide on money spent and services delivered to the Avenue, as well as who gets hired for staff positions. This will be a “you” organization, not a “those guys” organization — it is run by the Third Avenue community, not consultants, “outsiders”, or New York City employees. And the beauty of the BID is that everyone will contribute to the stability and enchantment of the Avenue.

Q: Why are those who are not paying get to vote?

A: Only stakeholders within the district get to vote. "Stakeholders" are those that own or rent a mixed use, parking, commercial or residential space on Third Avenue (and some side street buildings)- see map on ballot for tax lots in the geography. 

As stated by SBS: 

“Every BID formation effort must demonstrate broad-based support for the proposed BID in order for SBS to review and move into the legislative phase. Evidence of broad-based support includes the expectation that the steering committee has made exhaustive efforts to reach all stakeholder groups (property owners, commercial tenants, and residents) in the proposed district, and a significant proportion of each group has signed Statement of Supports in favor of the BID formation. SBS will only introduce proposed BIDs into the legislative process if SBS believes that the steering committee has engaged in an inclusive planning process, solicited robust community input, and has demonstrated broad-based support across all stakeholder groups of property owners and tenants.

Q: Is the BID intended as a replacement for the volunteer Business Association? If so, it seems like a rather large step. Is there an intermediary option? 

 A: It is part of the BID formation mission statement to “create an organizational structure to deliver goals in an efficient and cost effective manner, recognizing that every dollar spent will directly impact the avenue in a positive way.”

 The Steering Committee set an assessment $560K/ yr as the maximum amount that can be billed. However, the Board of Directors, who represent stakeholders in the district (see above for board composition) can decide, in the interest of their constituents, to bill less than $560K/ yr, if they feel that the entire assessment budget is not necessary. The rough budget presented by the Steering Committee is maxed out in the first year to cover one-time start-up costs that won’t be necessary in years following, such as purchase of office furniture and equipment.

The process of raising the assessment is arduous, and requires a public review process.  It was important to the Steering Committee to create a budget that could sustain the BID for many years, even with inflation, increases in minimum wage, etc, without having to go through the difficult process of raising the assessment. 

The budget includes services never delivered to the Avenue: marketing, streetscape improvements, improved and more holiday event lighting, more street events like Summer Strolls, holiday and “shop small” promotions, and small business advocacy with the city bureaucracy. A dedicated administrator will manage all these events, and the budget has also allocated for a secondary staff person to support outreach — this means someone walking the street going door to door with businesses to check in and respond to their needs. For 25 years, volunteers have done this work for no charge. A dedicated professional staff is needed to do this work and expand upon it.

 Q: Why is the 3rd Avenue BID budget higher than Park Slope BID, when one would assume expenses are higher in Park Slope? 

A: See above response. Additionally, different neighborhoods have different needs, and Third Avenue’s Budget was decided based on a robust community outreach through surveys that identified shared concerns and priorities (over 800 surveys collected in total). 

In addition, the representative from Park Slope indicated that this year’s budget would be $500,000 plus about $100,000 in event revenue and sponsorships, so in essence Third Avenue’s budget is smaller. As a BID we could also raise sponsorship dollars and apply for grants, and either lower the assessment or add enhancements beyond what we budgeted .

Q: Is there concrete data to prove that BIDs work?

A: See below, from the NYC Department of Small Business Services annual trends report from FY17. This chart shows total growth in sales in districts with BIDs versus the New York City average.

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Q: How many tax lots are in the district? 

A:

458 - paying tax lots

22 - residential only, government or non-profit properties

480 - total tax lots




The Ballot is LIVE!!

Dear Third Avenue-Bay Ridge Neighbor:

The Third Avenue-Bay Ridge Business Improvement District (BID) Steering Committee, a group of community stakeholders, is proposing to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in the Third Avenue-Bay Ridge commercial corridor. We are calling for your support in this effort.

BIDs have delivered a range of services in 76 New York City neighborhoods in order to improve the business climate and general quality of life. The Third Avenue-Bay Ridge Business Improvement District Steering Committee has developed a BID Plan to address the challenges and demands of the area, including but not limited to district marketing, place-making & streetscape enhancements, sanitation & district maintenance, and advocacy. The Third Avenue-Bay Ridge Business Improvement District would also act as a liaison for property owners and tenants in dealing with local elected officials and city agencies.

The Third Avenue BID Formation Steering Committee has met regularly to discuss the formation of a Third Avenue Bay Ridge Business Improvement District. The Steering Committee has hosted conversations with Third Avenue stakeholders, and executed an extensive formal survey of the community to determine priority issues and concerns on the Avenue. The Steering Committee is focused on creating an organizational structure to deliver resources in an efficient and effective manner.

As part of the BID Plan, property owners and taxpayers of record would be charged a special assessment that would fund the following services to support the local property owners and business community:

● Community & Business Marketing & Promotions (events, social media, advertising for tourism)

● Digital resources for businesses (website management, repository)

● Sanitation and Maintenance services (enhanced services proposed including, but not limited to, sidewalk sweeping,graffiti removal, tree pit management, and snow removal at corners)

● Streetscaping and Decorations (holiday lighting, banners, additional decor)

● Advocacy (liaising with City agencies to address district concerns)

BY LAW, NO CURRENT CITY SERVICES, SUCH AS POLICE OR SANITATION, MAY BE REDUCED AS A RESULT OF BID SERVICES

Boundaries of Proposed District

The proposed district includes properties on Third Avenue from the South side of Senator street to the North side of Marine Avenue, as well as contiguous commercial properties on Bay Ridge Avenue and 86th Street. The district map can be found on the proposed BID’s website-www.makeabidonthird.com.

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Below is a map of the proposed Third Avenue Bay Ridge BID:

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Annual BID Budget

The Steering Committee proposes an annual budget of $560,000 in the first year.

Annual BID Assessment

The committee has developed a formula to calculate the assessment for each property in the proposed district based on an annual base fee of $200 per taxable lot (all eligible properties will pay this minimum amount), and 75% of additional assessment will be based on frontage feet of property along Third Avenue, and 25% of additional assessment will be based on square footage of commercial space. A typical mixed-use/commercial property with 20 feet of frontage and approximately 1000 square feet of commercial space would be assessed approximately $895.00 annually, which translates to approximately $75 per month.

The annual BID assessment cannot be increased without the approval of the BID Board of Directors, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, and the City Council. Note that only commercial property owners within the proposed district will be billed the assessment; however, property owners may be able to pass some or all of the assessment along to their commercial tenants (merchants), depending upon the terms of individual commercial leases. Residential tenants are NOT responsible for any BID assessments that come to their property owner. The NYC Department of Finance is responsible for collecting the BID assessment and will forward these funds in full to the BID.

The table below illustrates the assessment for each property class.

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The BID is a not-for-profit corporation with a volunteer Board of Directors who are elected annually from the full BID membership and include local property owners, merchants (commercial tenants), and residential tenants. By law, the Board also includes representatives of the Mayor, Borough President, Comptroller, local City Councilmember and Community Board.

Third Avenue-Bay Ridge Business Improvement District Steering Committee will be hosting two public meetings, July 25th, 10am and 7pm at St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church-192 81st Street. You are invited to attend to have all of your BID related questions answered. As we finalize our outreach efforts, we are very interested in answering any questions that you may have regarding the proposed Third Avenue-Bay Ridge Business Improvement District and knowing your level of support.

Click HERE to RSVP for the public meeting.

Click HERE to vote for your support of the Third Avenue Bay Ridge Business Improvement District

3rd Avenue BID Full Mission Statement

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Mission Statement

The Bay Ridge Third Avenue Business Improvement District formation Steering Committee consists of business owners, property owners, residents, government officials, and community representatives who share a common mission to maintain Third Avenue’s reputation among all of NYC’s shopping corridors as a preeminent avenue to Shop, Dine and Stroll. Bay Ridge Third Avenue is currently an active and vibrant part of the Bay Ridge community, hosting parades, strolls, receptions, networking opportunities and festivals.

The rapidly changing and improving landscape of NYC draws our residents to distant areas of the city to shop and dine. Additionally, as a result of the e-commerce trend, local brick and mortars are losing major profits to online retail. The committee understands the need to maintain our resident shopping base and expand it by inviting residents of other neighborhoods to visit us. Marketing and an online presence, both of which is currently lacking due to insufficient funding and volunteers, will be an important component of the BID effort.

Property owners on Third Avenue must understand that they are in partnership with the commercial tenant and must invest in the avenue to maintain the avenue’s attractiveness and desirability. The successes of BIDS citywide are due to the 100% involvement of business and property owners; a concerted effort is needed to maintain and improve the business atmosphere and experience.

A major goal of BID formation is to create a formal organization to act as an advocate, liaison, promoter and problem solver for the business community, and enhance quality of life for all who live, work, dine, shop, and stroll on 3rd Avenue. The committee will be focused on creating an organizational structure to deliver those goals in an efficient and cost effective manner, recognizing that every dollar spent will directly impact the avenue in a positive way. The BID formation aims to unlock the long-term potential of Bay Ridge Third Avenue, ensuring that the corridor maintains its vibrancy and economic viability in perpetuity.

Make A BID on Third

Support the formation of the Third Avenue Bay Ridge Business Improvement District (BID)