The Examiner

Mt. Kisco to Weigh Downtown Business Improvement District

We are part of The Trust Project
Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich is proposing to create a business improvement district in the village, which would include a portion of downtown.
Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich is proposing to create a business improvement district in the village, which would include a portion of downtown.

In an effort to bolster commercial activity, Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich said the village is considering the creation of a business improvement district (BID) for the heart of the downtown.

Cindrich said a BID would comprise portions of Main Street, South Moger Avenue and a small portion of North Moger Avenue, although officials haven’t settled on the exact boundaries of a district. Most of the area has street-level retail and either commercial or residential uses on the second floor.

He said village residents and merchants want an active and vibrant business district.

“A business improvement district in my opinion would partner government, property owners and retailers in an effort to enhance the core of the village’s business,” Cindrich said. “Everyone would contribute and everyone would benefit. New storefronts, routine maintenance and coordinated special events would all be part of a BID.”

A BID is a public-private partnership where an additional tax is levied in a defined commercial district, which is used to develop, maintain and promote the area. There has been concern in the village about the number of commercial vacancies downtown that have become increasingly noticeable. Cindrich said he has been interested in creating a BID for a long time. The mayor said he discussed with Assemblyman David Buchwald, a former White Plains councilman, issues related to that municipality’s BID.

“My takeaway from my research on the topic is the proposal would have to be a cooperative effort on the part of the business community,” Cindrich said. “The Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce does an exceptional job in an effort to enhance the community. A BID would be an extension of the chamber’s efforts with all participating.”

Eileen Polese and Gina Picinich, co-executive directors of the Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce, said the village should explore a BID.

“The mayor’s idea is worth careful consideration. The (chamber) looks forward to hearing more about the mayor’s proposal in greater detail,” they said in a statement. “As a member organization comprised of Mount Kisco businesses, the chamber’s ultimate position would be up to its membership. We are always willing to entertain discussion about expanding and strengthening Mount Kisco’s already robust business base.”

Two downtown business owners who have pressed hard for the village to address its growing vacancy problem, agreed that the concept should be explored.

Leslie Bijoux, co-owner of Yogi’s Paw and Evolution, said village officials should do anything it can “to help bring new businesses to town.”

Tiger Lily boutique owner Cathy Deutsch said a BID would encourage commercial development and help fill empty downtown storefronts. Deutsch said if a BID was created she would want to actively participate in it.

Village Trustee Peter Grunthal said it was too early for him to comment on whether the board should create a BID.

“This is a work in progress,” he said.

The concept has been working well for more than 20 years in Peekskill, said William Powers, executive director of the Peekskill BID. It was created in the early 1990s to assist downtown merchants and the municipality with marketing and promotions, events, attracting and retaining businesses and beautification projects.

“In essence it was designed to supplement city services or provide services the city was unable to provide,” Powers said.

A BID is funded through creation of a district, which levies taxes if the property owners vote to approve. Typically, property owners pass that added expense on to their commercial tenants, Powers said. Franchise businesses are also included in the BID and pay the tax. In Peekskill, the BID covers the central business district.

Business owners have supported the district, he said.

“We focus on beautification projects, marketing and promotion,” Powers said. “We pay for radio and print advertising that promote events or general reasons to come to downtown Peekskill.”

The BID has a board of directors which represents business tenants and property owners.





We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.