PHOTO: According to organizers, the JFK IBID seeks to enhance the quality of life for all those who live, work and visit the off-airport cargo community. Photo Courtesy of the Proposed Greater JFK Industrial Business Improvement District
By Michael V. Cusenza
The Borough Board on Monday evening voted unanimously, 9-0, in favor of recommending the creation of the Greater JFK Industrial Business Improvement District.
The board approved the plans for the new organization that would focus on the off-airport cargo community of John F. Kennedy International Airport, home to one of the industry’s largest clusters of customs brokers and freight forwarders that control the routing of most of the world’s international freight shipments.
A Business Improvement District, according to the city Department of Small Business Services, is a public/private partnership in which property and business owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development, and promotion of their commercial district.
BIDs deliver supplemental services such as: sanitation and maintenance; public safety and hospitality; marketing and promotions; capital improvements; beautification; district representation; and business development.
According to the planning committee, the purpose of the proposed Greater JFK Industrial BID is: to support the off-airport air cargo and services district by providing technical and professional services, supplemental assistance and improvements, and effective advocacy and administration for all district members; and to enhance the quality of life and the recognition of the diverse experiences of all who work ,visit, and live within and adjacent to the district, and to encourage members of the district to be “good neighbors,” striking a reasonable balance between industrial, commercial, and residential interests.
Located in Springfield Gardens, the proposed IBID is a seven-acre parcel bounded by Rockaway Boulevard to the north, by Nassau Expressway to the south, and by the Federal Aviation Administration office building to the west. The main thoroughfare of the proposed district is Rockaway Boulevard, and the properties within the IBID either front Rockaway Boulevard or are just to the east and west of Rockaway Boulevard from Baisley Boulevard South to 183rd Street.
The JFK off-airport cargo community is home to more than 600 businesses that provide logistical support to products and goods flowing through the airport and other major ports annually.
“This commerce is not only essential to the City’s economy and plays a central role in the daily lives of hundreds of New Yorkers, but also provides a foundation for regional, national and international economies at large,” according to the IBID planning committee.
The proposed district is comprised of private properties containing customs brokers, freight forwarders, messenger and logistical services, trucking and maintenance companies. Altogether, businesses within proposed zone employ almost 8,000 workers and occupy approximately 4.1 million square-feet in a range of industrial and commercial buildings. The air and ocean cargo related businesses exist alongside other light industrial and retail uses, hotels, community service and government facilities, as well as more than 150 single-family homes.
“Without question, the district’s 525 properties represent a unique New York City neighborhood,” the committee said.
The proposed annual budget of the IBID has been pegged at $500,000. According to the planning committee, it will be used to provide targeted, accountable attention to neighborhood issues and include services and improvements that contribute to the overall enhancement of the district.