New Projects, Political Issues Discussed at Mt. Airy BID Meeting
The meeting happened Thursday night.
Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) officials extolled the organization's accomplishments at the entity's annual meeting on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia Thursday.
The organization used some of its surplus money to put planters along Germantown Avenue, according to BID Executive Director Hollie Malamud-Price. That, according to officials, was one of its signature accomplishments. (To read more about what the BID did in its 2010-11 year, click here.)
"The BID has never been in better shape both fiscally and programatically," board Chairman Ken Weinstein said at the meeting, which was attended by Avenue property owners and representatives from community organizations like East and West Mt. Airy Neighbors.
Next year, Weinstein said, the BID plans on:
- Creating a website that lists properties on the Avenue that are for sale or that are available for lease.
- Doing more side street cleanups.
- Trying to make tree wells on the Avenue more attractive.
- Installing more security lighting below Phil-Ellena Street.
- Putting solar lighting on about 200 trees. ("This could be our hard-hitting project of the year," Weinstein said.)
The BID will also work to renew itself as an organization. It was approved for five years in 2007, and Weinstein said the BID hopes to be renewed for 10 years in September 2012. City Council must approve that measure, and 51 percent of business owners on the Avenue must agree that the BID should continue to exist as well.
Right now, property owners pay 18 percent of their real estate tax to the BID. Some questioned whether that number would remain the same as taxes increase, but Weinstein said it could go down if taxes go up and said the BID budget could remain the same as a result.
Property owners on the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue spoke up often during the meeting. They said they were pleased with the work the BID is doing, but said they sometimes feel neglected by the city in their section of the Avenue.
Areas on the rest of the Avenue, for example, received streetlights that were installed by the city. But the 6300 block has yet to receive them.
Mt. Airy USA Executive Director Anuj Gupta, who was at the meeting, said the BID and Mt. Airy USA need to have a meeting with the likely next 8th District Councilwoman—Cindy Bass—to let her know about the issue and to get her to maybe do something about it.
Members of the 6300 Block Alliance said they've reached out to Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller's office but haven't gotten a response. The money for the lights and for other decorations has been approved, BID officials said, so it's just a matter of getting the materials installed.
Gupta also said Mt. Airy USA wants to maybe work with a newly reformed Mt. Airy Business Association—which is in the works—to create marketing events along the Avenue, such as a Restaurant Week.
New board members were elected to the BID at the meeting. They are Yvonne Haskins, Gerard McCabe, and Carolene Woods. The officers are Chairman Ken Weinstein, Vice Chair Peter Commons, Secretary Elise Rivers, and Treasurer Gerard McCabe.
The next BID board meeting is Oct. 11 at 12:15 p.m. at Upsala. They are held the second Tuesday of every month.