ROTTERDAM: Area may adopt BID

Chairman of the Upper Union Street Business Improvement District Michael Mastroianni said he was willing to share the secrets of his area's success with neighboring Hamburg Street Merchants Association in Rotterdam.

That offer of help comes on the heels of a Friday, June 1, meeting between some Hamburg Street merchants and Metroplex Development Authority director Ray Gillen and board member Robert Godlewski.

At the meeting, Sam Vavala, owner of Christopher's Tuxedos, and Frank DePalma, owner of DePalma's Screen Printing and Embroidery, talked with Gillen and Godlewski about what could be done on Hamburg Street to foster growth. One of the main topics discussed was forming a business improvement district like the one in Upper Union Street.

At Friday's discussion, Gillen provided the merchants with some suggestions, including taking an inventory of all the available properties in the area, knowing how many cars traveled on Hamburg Street and enforcing town codes for maintaining property and signage.

Gillen urged the merchants to meet with Mastroianni and other members of the Upper Union Street Business Improvement District, or BID, to see if creating a similar improvement district on Hamburg Street would be successful.

DePalma said later that the Hamburg Street Merchants would likely contact Mastroianni in the coming week to set up a meeting between the two groups.

Union Street and Hamburg Street have similar characteristics, including the fact that both areas are made up of mostly family-owned small businesses.

DePalma said he has some reservations about how a BID would work in the Hamburg Street area because the area's businesses are more spread out than those on Upper Union Street, but he said he was interested in hearing what suggestions Mastroianni has for getting more business owners involved.

We need to know what to tell the merchants that they can do, said DePalma.

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