A good year for Fifth Avenue

It was another successful year for Bay Ridge’s Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.

At the organization’s annual meeting, which was held at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street, James Clark, the group’s president, reported that, with about 340 stores along the strip, there currently were only 21 empty storefronts, for a vacancy rate of about six percent, despite the fact that, as he pointed out, “The economy is not good though it’s slowly improving.

“We are doing pretty well, citywide,” Clark noted, pointing out that some of the empty storefronts weren’t actually unused, as owners were utilizing some of them or renting them to other parties for storage.

The recent festival went well, Clark added. “It was fantastic, great, wonderful,” he enthused. The Storefront Art Walk, now in its third year, is growing slowly, he went on, and its organizer, Heather Hamilton, concurred.

“Nineteen artists participated this year,” she reported. “It’s better than ever.” Looking ahead, Hamilton told the group, “Hopefully, we will be able to expand.”

There are no intentions of increasing assessments on the BID members, Clark said. The annual budget of $300,000 covers supplemental sanitation services and safety patrol cars at key times, as well special events and such improvements as the addition of planters (with 52 along the thoroughfare, there are 12 more on order expected in late summer.”

The success on the strip is an example for others, noted Justin Brannan, who attended the meeting on behalf of City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “If Bay Ridge is the crown jewel of Brooklyn, then the Fifth Avenue BID is really a model for all the other BIDs,” he said.

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