(Photo by Robert Press)
By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, December 17- The White Plains Road Business Improvement District (BID) was established May,1994, as a not-for-profit community economic development organization with a mission to maintain and enhance business conditions in a four-block area in the Bronx. The area extends from Bolton Street east along Pelham Parkway South to White Plains Road and south for three blocks to Brady Avenue. There are currently 88 stores actively open for business with only three small storefronts that are empty to lease.
The main retail shopping area is characterized by the #2 elevated train which runs up the center of White Plains Road with a stop at Pelham Parkway. Bus connections Bx12, Bx39, and Bx22 are available at Pelham Parkway as well as links to the BxM11 and the Westchester #60 and #61 buses.
The White Plains Road BID is within walking distance of the Bronx Zoo, the Bronx Botanical Gardens, Beth Abraham Hospital and Health Services. Various elementary and intermediate schools as well as Christopher Columbus High School and Saint Catherine’s Academy serve the ethnicity diverse populated houses and apartment buildings that are also in the neighborhood.
The BID provides a uniformed street cleaner who sweeps the sidewalks and curbs twice per day and regularly empties the garbage pails. Holiday lights are up on White Plains Road and a Santa Claus walks up and down the street distributing candy and posing for pictures free-of-charge. The 49th Pct. patrols the White Plains Road BID area regularly with officers that are friendly and helpful to shoppers and the merchants. In cooperation with a group of local businesses (namely: Good N Natural, BX Sports, Creston Optical and Ultimate Studio Martial Arts), innovative commercials have been created which emphasize the advantages of the area, and placed on local cable channels.
For the first time a Chanukah Menorah was lit on White Plains Road on Pelham Parkway at the subway stop, which was provided by newly elected Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj. On hand were Congressman Eliot Engel, State Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Gjonaj, Joe Thompson of the BID, and almost two hundred people including Rabbi Zuckerman who blessed and then lit the menorah.
Mr. Joe Thompson is the Executive Director of the White Plains Road BID. In an interview Mr. Thompson said that he walks to work, and loves helping to improve the area that he lives in. Joe is known by each and every merchant of the BID, and he told me a story about almost every store as we took a walk up and down the BID area.
There are several banks, two major chain drug stores, other national chain stores, a dozen different clothing stores, several places to eat including McDonald’s and Burger King, a supermarket, a post office, many one of a kind stores, and even a municipal parking lot. Some of the stores have increased in size, while others have opened additional stores with the success of the White Plains Road store.
When I asked Mr. Thompson the one store he would like to see in the BID his answer was “well we have almost everything”.
You can go to my blog at www.100percentbronx.blogspot.com to see many photos of the White Plains Road Bid.
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