Postcards mailed last week to select SoHo properties from a group composed largely of real-estate investors announced the formation of a steering committee with plans to expand the current Business Improvement District (BID) to cover ALL of SoHo – and beyond.
This comes as no surprise.
When the current SoHo Broadway BID was being formed eight years ago, our Freedom of Information Law request produced handwritten notes from its steering committee revealing its true goal “to eventually expand to all of SoHo.” The chickens have come home to roost.
The BID’s stated purpose then was to remove the trash on Broadway. That was all!! It certainly was not to lobby for unrestricted, oversize retail stores, as the BID is now advocating.
The Broadway BID board of directors just passed a resolution calling for zoning changes to permit unrestricted retail use throughout an entire building – from the sub-cellar up to the top floor of a building of any size. In other words, Herald Square.
Now the same people behind the Broadway BID are organizing to spread it to all of SoHo.
Their website touts the benefits of ”the marketing efforts of BIDs” to retailers and the BID’s desire to “offer events and coordinated promotions to attract shoppers and visitors.”
Not a word about us beleaguered residents.
Nor about the increased property taxes assessed to pay for the BID’s executives’ high salaries (while the humble street cleaners are paid minimum wage).
Their postcard linked to a website which had a survey that was actually a “push-poll”. A push-poll is a survey so worded as to “push” from the respondent the very answers that the sponsors are seeking.
This push-poll sought whether we agreed that SoHo has “dirty streets” and “lacks a clear identity” (huh?), as well as feel-good items like the need for “open space, pedestrian safety and better lighting.”
Nowhere did the survey ask if we want: – increased retail – megastores and department stores of unlimited square footage – more shoppers – more tourists – more crowds – more congested sidewalks and subway platforms – more traffic and honking – more tourists’ garbage – more taxes
IF YOU RECEIVED ONE OF THEIR POSTCARDS, WE URGE YOU TO BOYCOTT THE SURVEY. IT WILL ONLY SERVE TO FURTHER THE EXPANSION OF A BID INTO OUR COMMUNITY.
The proposed BID’s steering committee has hired a PR firm to smooth this through City Hall over the next few months. Representatives from de Blasio’s Office of Small Business Services have expressed support for the expansion. So we have our work cut out for us.
If you receive any more notices soliciting your opinion or help, please let us know.
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