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Atlantic Avenue BID Makes Plans to Improve District

Josef Szende, Atlantic Avenue BID director, on Atlantic Avenue wearing the BID's new logo.
Josef Szende, Atlantic Avenue BID director, on Atlantic Avenue wearing the BID's new logo.
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Sandy Balboza/Atlantic Avenue BID

BOERUM HILL — The newly operational Atlantic Avenue BID has big plans for the area, including restoring parking and increasing sanitation services.

The first priority for the business improvement district, which was authorized last year and received funding in April, is a push to abolish the parking ban along Atlantic Avenue, which severely restricts parking from 4 to 7 p.m. Cars parked along the avenue are towed too often, said Josef Szende, director of the BID.

"It’s a longstanding concern," Szende said. "It’s something that many businesses have said is a concern when asked what’s affecting them and their customers."

The BID has also hired a crew to provide sanitation services to the district. The team will be responsible for clearing streets of litter and graffiti, and the service is expected to start in the next four to six weeks. Tree-pit beautification is also expected to take place in upcoming months, hopefully before summer’s end, Szende said.

Next on the list is a plan to refurbish and maintain the historic lights along the Atlantic Avenue. One of the functions of the BID is to pay for these lights and to make sure they remain in place, Szende noted. Holiday lighting is also slated to arrive this winter, to showcase Atlantic Avenue as a holiday-shopping destination.

"We’re not your typical BID," said Szende. "For the most part, we have ma-and-pop shops. Most of our properties are owned by individuals and their entire lives are invested on Atlantic Avenue. They have given us a vote of confidence in organizing this BID."

In the fall, the BID will be distributing a shopping guide, with a directory of all the businesses in the district, and a map of their locations.

The BID will officially make its introduction to the neighborhood with a street fair on June 16, dubbed the Atlantic Avenue Extravaganza. Unlike most street fairs, the avenue will not be closed for the event, said Szende. The event, which will run from 1 to 5 p.m., will feature dancers, acrobats, marching bands, and other live entertainment along the sidewalks. Participating businesses will also be organizing entertainment for the occasion.

Silk Road Antiques, for instance, located at 313 Atlantic Ave., has invited Aikido Martial Artists to perform in front of its storefront on that day. The centerpiece of the event, noted Szende, will be Lava, an acrobatic dance troupe based in Brooklyn.

The BID also will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of its office, located at 340 Atlantic Ave., and the community will get the opportunity to meet the sanitation team.

After three years of neighborhood advocacy efforts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the BID into law on Sept. 27 of last year, making it the city's 65th business improvement district. It takes in Atlantic Avenue from Fourth Avenue to the waterfront, and streets one block north and south of Atlantic Avenue.

The BID received funding in April, with a budget of $240,000 a year for marketing, sanitation, beautification, and traffic and crime advocacy.

"The neighborhood has come a long way over the past few decades," said Szende. "The BID is an effort to make that community social-capital permanent, in organization with funding and official status. We hope our efforts will better the lives of merchants and residents of the area."

For more information about the BID, visit atlanticavenuebid.wordpress.com.