Business Improvement Districts – Op Ed

John J Saporito 

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have advanced the business growth of over 93,000 businesses throughout NYC for more than 30 years.  BIDs, there are 11 BIDs in the Bronx, and each BID assists merchants, business owners and property owners with marketing, promotion and business skill and technology development.  Each BID is a not-for-profit corporation operated by the property owners, merchants and residents of the BID business corridor.  BIDs are the advocate for all the business needs of its members and they speak with a strong, single voice for between 300 and 400 members.  A BID can and does successfully fight City Hall.

In the past two years BIDs were formed with merchant, business owner, property owner and residential owner support in Morris Park, Throggs Neck and Castle Hill.  Allerton’s business corridor was to be next.  There is strong business community support for an Allerton BID.  However, Gene deFrancis, president of the Allerton International Merchants Association, has been an obstacle in the creation of an Allerton BID. It appears that Gene DeFrancis is more interested in exerting his control over Allerton businesses rather than letting Allerton businesses control their own destiny with a Business Improvement District they operate with the help of an Executive Director they hire.

The question is: What’s in it for Gene DeFrancis?  An Allerton BID will represent the business needs of 215 Allerton businesses and 85 properties.  Gene DeFrancis is not an Allerton merchant, he is not an Allerton business owner and he is not an Allerton property owner.  Why does Gene DeFrancis work so hard to prevent Allerton from forming the 12th Bronx BID?