A City Council led group is vying for a new business improvement district along a nearly two-mile stretch of Roosevelt Avenue between 81st and 104th Streets in Queens, dividing the bustling immigrant community.
The plan calls for additional street cleaners to remove graffiti and paint street furniture, experts to design shopping guides and websites, new amenities, additional flower gardens and garbage cans, and even a Wi-Fi corridor. But many locals fear that a business improvement district would drive up prices, robbing the area of its eclectic mix of affordable shops, which have provided business opportunities to many recent immigrants, according to the New York Times.
The improvement district would also including portions of 82nd Street and Junction Boulevard, meaning that it would encompass parts of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona and approximately 880 businesses.
Proponents of the plan, known as the Jackson Heights-Corona Partnership, argue that the new district would reduce crime and help immigrant businesses compete with shopping malls. However, many immigrant business owners claim that paying fees averaging $900 per commercial lot, per year, could put them out of business. [NYT] –Christopher Cameron