June 28, 2016 By Christian Murray
Preliminary steps are being taken to form a Woodside business association, with the aim of beautifying the Roosevelt Avenue corridor, as well as bringing extra lighting and additional commerce to the strip.
The concept to form a business association followed a public presentation in Woodside last week by the Queens Economic Development Corp. that analyzed the Roosevelt Avenue strip.
The QEDC conducted a “needs assessment” of the Woodside corridor and determined, based on surveys, that the Roosevelt Avenue stretch had dirty awnings, subway trestles in need of paint, greater lighting, additional benches and plantings.
It noted that the shadows created by the elevated 7 train reduce light, diminishing some people’s sense of safety.
Robert Piazza, the chair of Woodside on the Move, advocated for the formation of a business association to help address these issues. He said that Woodside on the Move could oversee the group but it would be a membership-based organization open to all.
“We will be the leaders but we will not dictate what will happen with it,” Piazza said.
Piazza said it would not be a Business Improvement District, a concept that was discussed two years ago but didn’t get the support of local merchants.
The idea, Piazza said, would be to generate funds and then conduct small cleanup projects that would spark greater interest. Where the funding would come from is still to be determined.
The QEDC report included a series of findings, such as the vacancy rate of the Roosevelt Avenue strip—between 57th Street and 70th Street—which was 9.5 percent based on the 190 stores that were evaluated.
Of those 190 stores, 151 were single-store businesses, as opposed to chains.
QEDC also found that of those stores, 51 were bars/cafes and 20 were hair care/beauty.
The population within a mile radius of Roosevelt Avenue/63rd Street was 164,000 in 2015, with a median household income of $49,400.
Piazza’s idea for a business association was met with approval by the 50 attendees at the meeting and future meetings are planned.