Mt. Airy BID earns charter renewal

Mt. Airy’s Business Improvement District (BID) has finally heard the news they’ve been working towards all year. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has signed off on legislation which renews the organization’s charter for another five years.

The effort was strongly supported by Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who introduced legislation in mid-April requesting the renewal.  The ordiance got City Council approval on Nov. 27.

“Reauthorization to operate through 2017 is incredibly important to the BID’s ability to maintain an attractive destination and to build upon its past success to make Mt. Airy an even more desirable place to live and do business,” said Bass.

Mt. Airy’s downtown is cleaner and more vibrant than ever, she added.

Over the past five years, the neighborhood’s business district, which runs almost exclusively along Germantown Avenue, has become cleaner, safer and been home to a number of beautification projects, said BID Executive Director Hollie Malamud-Price.

“We’re thrilled,” said Malamud-Price when asked about the renewal. ” BID has made a tremendous impact on the commercial corridor.”

BID was formed in 2007 with a mission to clean, beautify and increase the safety of Mt. Airy’s commercial corridor. Its accomplishments along Germantown Avenue include daily street cleaning services, graffiti removal, 140 security lights on commercial properties, 50 Big Belly solar trash receptacles, flower plantings and holiday decor.

Approximately 250 commercial property owners on the Avenue between Washington Lane and Cresheim Valley Drive are levied 18 percent of the real estate tax assessed by the City’s Board of Revision Taxes (BRT) to pay for the organization’s services.

2012 accomplishements

This year, BID took on an even greater role in the community.

In response to the reassignment of bicycle police from the 7100 block of Germantown Avenue to crime hot spots in nearby Germantown, BID reached out to then 14th Police District Captain Joel Dales for answers.

Dales was recently promoted to staff inspector.

BID’s own Avenue Ambassadors also began to work with police to report any suspicious activity.

“We acted as a deterrent, absolutely,” said Malamud-Price

The organization also took a tough stance on graffiti and brought together representatives of neighborhood civic groups, city officials, police and SEPTA for a community meeting on the topic.

“That was a very important breakthrough,” she noted. The result was a more coordinated response which has helped to tackle the issue.

BID has also continued to strengthen its relationships with other area civics. Just this autumn, the organization joined with other Northwest Philadelphia business improvement districts as part of the new Northwest Community Corridors.

The umbrella group is working on a white paper report to present at City Hall next year, said Malamud-Price

Resurrecting quarterly executive director meetings is yet another way BID is striving to build stronger relationships between local organizations, including East Mt. Airy Neighbors, West Mt. Airy Neighbors, and Mt. Airy USA.

Looking ahead

Next year, BID is looking forward to street lights being installed in the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue. Once completed, the long delayed project will finally bring uniformity to Mt. Airy’s commercial corridor, Malamud-Price said.

BID is also hoping to work with SEPTA in 2013 to repaint old trolley poles on the Avenue. The expansion of holiday decoration projects with increased business participation is also a goal.

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