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Bronx BIDs rise to challenge

Bronx Times

Movie nights, websites and site studies are what’s in store for three Bronx business improvement districts.

The three BIDs - Fordham, Southern Boulevard and Third Avenue HUB- are winners of the city’s BID Challenge, which asked executive directors to think of creative ways to better their business environments.

The BIDs, part of the nine total in the borough, won a total of $74,000 in funding for their improvement projects.

In the ever-busy Fordham BID, shoppers would be able to take some time out of their day to enjoy a free movie. Organizers conceived a plan to host four Movie Nights at Fordham Plaza, featuring family-friendly films this coming summer.

Fordham Plaza is not part of the BID right now, but organizers are holding the venue as part of a larger effort to include the plaza into its portfolio, said deputy executive director Daniel Bernstein.

“We want to give them a taste of the BID,” said Bernstein.

He credited the idea for the $26,000 grant to Sean Cox and Liana Shapiro, two Fordham University grads interning with the BID through the school’s International Political Economy and Development program.

“Sean worked on all the writing and Liana Shapiro put together the slide show,” he said.

Next, the Southern Boulevard BID is going digital.

With its $28,000 grant now in its coffers, mom and pop websites will be crafted to boost sales to a BID in predominantly poor neighborhood.

“We know Southern Boulevard has a lot of foot traffic, but no one’s coming in,” said Medina Sadiq, executive director. “If that’s not working, then we should get other people in.”

Tapping into the web, Sadiq hopes the move will attract folks to stores like Palace Furniture Discount, Real Azteca Restaurant, and Alba Shoe Repair. The trio has no established websites.

“It’s inexpensive,” he said. “When you compare websites to television advertising, you build a website for a thousand bucks and you can use it forever.”

Sadiq said he will hire a consultant to work with any interested store owner.

In the South Bronx, the HUB-Third Avenue BID won a $20,000 grant to assess empty second floors and how to re-occupy them.

A report will then be tallied and shared with other BIDs hurting in that area.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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