Mt. Airy’s Business Improvement District faces charter renewal this year

Mt. Airy’s commercial district could see rain barrels rolled onto the sidewalks later this year. These would capture rainwater to be later used to water hanging the numerous flower baskets and planters along Germantown Avenue.

This is just one of the beautification projects that the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) is planning to do this year. BID will be working with the City’s Water Department to install 10 rain barrels in Mt. Airy’s commercial corridor. The commercial property owners that line the Avenue fund these activities.

At BID’s first meeting of the year on Tuesday, the focus was on BID’s upcoming reauthorization process. BID was created in 2007 with a mission to clean, beautify and increase the safety of the Germantown Avenue commercial corridor.

One of the core services that the BID provides is keeping the area nice.  The hard work of BID’s Avenue Ambassador street cleaning crew, Cookie Bundy and Derrick Roberson, was applauded by board member Bob Elfant, “The Avenue looks consistently fabulous!” he enthused. BID increased Roberson’s hours to full-time last week.

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The organization is hoping that its members feel that its efforts are paying off.


Is BID making a difference?

Later this year, the Mt. Airy BID will find out if it will be re-authorized by the city for ten more years.

“We have a lot of momentum going.” exclaimed Elfant, owner of Elfant Wissahickon Realty.

In an effort to both rally support and update its mission, The Mt. Airy BID plans to hold two meetings for its stakeholders, which includes the property owners but also the businesses and residents that benefit from a cleaner and safer shopping district.

The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 30 and a second this spring. The board hopes to have Councilwoman Cindy Bass at the first meeting because it will need her support for the re-authorization process to move forward.

BID Executive Director Hollie Malamud-Price stated that the meeting will be opportunity “to define what the BID is” and what its future goals will be. The board members agreed their goals include more greening and beautification projects, increased community involvement and building strategic relationships.

Malamud-Prince told NewsWorks the way re-authorization works is that the Mt. Airy BID would get an extension if there is not a groundswell of opposition from its members. Specifically she said that if 51 percent or more members filed a complaint to the city then the BID would end its operations.

A large neighborhood attendance of the meeting is expected.  Attendees are invited to provide input on the future direction of BID.


Things you’ll see in 2012

Mt. Airy BID will again install spring flowers along Germantown Avenue this May.  Malamud-Price promised that the flowers will be a “very different looking project” than last year.

BID will also hold its annual Spring Cleanup Day and continue its mulching, weeding and leaf removal project. It was announced that this year BID’s winter holiday decorations will be installed for a duration of two months rather than the four weeks of the past season.

New this year will be an “Adopt a Pole” contest where neighborhood participants can further embellish the holiday decor on the light posts.  BID Secretary Elise Rivers stated that she believed it would be a “great art project” and bring greater publicity to BID.

The Mt. Airy BID also announced that it had created a Facebook page and will soon be sending out its first official newsletter.  The organization hopes to improve its community involvement, particularly by strengthening alliances with other neighborhood organizations.  Board member Clifton Jones stated, “In these economic times there’s a need for a lot more partnerships.”  He and fellow board member Michael Schweisheimer proposed holding quarterly meetings by a leadership committee comprised of members from all the neighborhood associations.

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