Business improvement district for 9th Street corridor inches closer to reality

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Council members listen to testimony at a Wednesday hearing on a proposal for a business improvement district in the Italian Market area.  (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Council members listen to testimony at a Wednesday hearing on a proposal for a business improvement district in the Italian Market area. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Plans for a business improvement district for the Ninth Street market area in Philadelphia were aired Wednesday morning at a City Council committee hearing.  

The concept of a business improvement district is not new.  More services such as sweeping streets and sidewalks are provided, and businesses pay additional taxes to cover their cost.  

Efforts to improve what most still call the Italian Market have been a long time coming, said Emilio Mignucci of Di Bruno Brothers market.

“If we could support the change that a [district] can deliver without creating a mandatory assessment, we probably would,” he said. “But, however, the larger issues facing our district need to come from the fair and all-inclusive buy-in from every commercial investor in our community.”

Merchant Mario Girardo said he and other business owners are against paying any more to the city, even for additional services.

“The larger businesses are for it, but the smaller merchants really can’t afford it,” Girardo said.

In order for the city to establish the business improvement district, proponents would need to win at least 30 percent of the vote from businesses facing the tax.

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