The Flatbush Avenue and Church Avenue business improvement districts, which physically intersect, plan to merge in a move designed to save time and money and improve service to the local business community.
Laura Elvers Collins, executive director of both the Flatbush Avenue BID and Church Avenue BID, said the switch is mostly an administrative one that will officially recognize what is largely already happening in the area.
“We’ve been managing the two BIDs increasingly as if they’re one and at this point we’re doing most of our programs together, which has been really great because we have a small staff,” Elvers Collins said.
Already, the two BIDs share an office and staff members. However, even with the programming and management coming together seamlessly, the problem is a lot of the administration has to be done twice.
“I went through all the work we did and determined we probably spend 725 hours doing things a second time, like we get two Instagrams, we have two annual reports, two insurance policies — and a lot of that would be great if we could just do it once.”
The merger for the BIDs, which are areas where local businesses oversee and fund the maintenance, improvement, and promotion of their business district, is currently still a proposal. Combined, the BIDs cover around 1.5 miles of commercial property in the area. The Church Avenue BID covers Church Avenue between Coney Island Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, the merger presentation shows, and the Flatbush Avenue BID covers Flatbush Avenue between Parkside Avenue and Cortelyou Road. In total, the BIDs are made up of 450 businesses and 282 properties, spread over 477 storefronts.
The merger proposal is currently going through hearings and outreach, and Community Board 14’s Community Environment, Cultural Affairs and Economic Development Committee is holding a remote public meeting on the proposal on Thursday, February 23 at 6:30 p.m.
When finalized, the staff will stay the same and the management of the BID will look the same to the local community and businesses, but it will have a new name and logo. The new name and logo is about the only change regular shoppers can expect, and businesses won’t notice much difference either, Elvers Collins said.
She did say that there would be a slight change in the fees property owners in the BID pay each year. “Some will go up and some will go down, not by very much. There are a few that will increase or decrease by more, but that’s a very small percentage, and for those people we’re trying to reach out directly.”
Elvers Collins said so far the community is on board with the merger: “I think efficiencies, economies of scale, is something that everyone understands.”
The result will be the staff has more time to do marketing and outreach, she said, and work on the initiatives they currently have in the works, which largely focus on sanitation and beautification. Other activities include business development, putting on events, and helping members get grants.
She said the team hopes the merger will be finalized before July, when the next billing cycle for fees occurs.
This story first appeared on Brooklyn Paper’s sister site Brownstoner.