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Chinatown BID Supporters Look for Community Board “Clean Sweep”

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It’s a big night ahead for supporters of a Chinatown Business Improvement District.  This evening, Community Boards 1 and 2 will decide whether to accept their committee-level recommendations to endorse the proposal.  If they vote “yes”  and Community Board 3 does the same at its monthly meeting next week, it will be a clean sweep in the first phase of the arduous approval process.

In their campaign, the steering committee has said street maintenance and cleaning would be the organization’s top priority. A multi-million dollar grant for this purpose from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. runs out at the end of the year. This afternoon, BID backers said (if they win the support of all three boards) they will begin raising money for sanitation services for the first six months of the year.  Even under the best case scenario, the business district would not be functioning until the middle of 2011. 

One issue that’s still being worked out: the fate of one block of Lafayette Street, between Broome and Grand.  During a presentation before CB 2’s land use committee last week, some board members questioned whether this portion of the proposed BID really belongs in the Chinatown organization.   One member in particular, Sean Sweeney, argued the block feels more like Soho. BID steering committee members said they would look into the wishes of businesses and residents on the block and report back to Community Board 2.

Incidentally, foes of the BID are undeterred.  They’re planning a news conference tomorrow, apparently intended to demonstrate that opposition to the proposal is intensifying.

Still ahead: BID supporters must win the support of the City Council, city agencies and the borough president.

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