A little over 35 years ago, a group of committed citizens joined forces to improve the area known as North Flatbush Avenue. This group was comprised of merchants, property owners and residents such as Fran Trowbridge, Regina Cahill, Sophie Edeler, Joe King (Century 21 Real Estate) Bill Shapiro (Triangle Sports) and the Pintchik family (Pintchik Hardware)
These committed citizens, along with the assistance of elected officials, city agencies and the Brooklyn Union Gas “Cinderella Project” brought renewal to Flatbush Avenue beginning with the Triangle Parks Commission, the North Flatbush Avenue Betterment Committee that ultimately gave rise to the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District, also known as the “BID”.
Most of this core group is still involved in what may seem to be a long struggle to keep Flatbush Avenue a vibrant commercial district. Over the years, the members of the Board of Directors have struggled to create a cohesive identity for the BID that would be responsive to the changing demographic, without losing long time businesses and to create an atmosphere that is rich with “Brooklyn” spirit.
The BID has prided itself on understanding our limitations, our budget is small, and most of the properties and businesses are owned by a sole proprietor. Where else does one have to contend with thousands of vehicles daily, two bus routes, six sets of subway tracks below and a borough that sees Flatbush Avenue more as a conduit than as a destination.
Well, that is all about to change! For years, we have been planning a new streetscape for Flatbush Avenue with a focus like that of 1974 when the Triangle Parks were created. In July 2008, neighborhood citizens participated in our Community Forum hosted by the NYC Project for Public Spaces and then Councilwoman Letitia James and the North Flatbush Avenue BID. What is Flatbush Avenue? What would you like to see? The NYC Department of Small Business Services (NYC SBS) awarded the BID a grant which allowed us to create a conceptual streetscape design that addresses concerns expressed at the forum. More seating, more trees, potted plants, a respite. These plans were revealed to the public and the press at our 2009 Annual Meeting with “W” Architecture and Landscaping LLC. and elected officials. We were able to entice and cajole our fine city to fund the Flatbush Avenue of the future. Today, we have close to $3 million in capital funding to complete our project. It has a been a long haul, but we are near the final stages of our planning. We expect to start construction on our project soon.
In addition to the capital projects, the BID has continued to support the members through the liaison work with city agencies, sanitation services, promotional activities, holiday decorations, advertising opportunities, community events, and as in the past, ensuring that someone watches out for you. In April of 2009, the BID was successful in getting approval to change our tax status to a 501(c) 3 non profit corporation which has allowed us to seek funding from additional sources thus providing a wider range of services.
We encourage neighbors to engage us on social media– Twitter @NFBID & Instagram @NorthFlatbushBK. We post regularly and provide photos of our activities. This is a great way to find out what is happening in the area, including construction updates, traffic updates and “Breaking News”. Send us your email address and we will keep you up to date.
The North Flatbush Avenue BID is a member of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Park Slope Civic Council.