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The Downtown Riverhead BID [Business Improvement District], which I am proud to serve as president of, is under attack by Councilwoman Jodi Giglio. I am not sure why? The BID is a non-partisan, non- political entity created to promote business activity downtown and I like to think we are doing a good job. Consider this:
-Each year, the BID brings thousands upon thousands of people to Main Street. Our Fourth of July celebration, family friendly concerts, weekly classic car shows, antique shows, holiday bonfire, farmer’s market and cardboard boat races are well attended events that bring families and neighbors downtown to experience the newly emerging and growing downtown business district.
-The BID “cobrands” events with other organizations; we have partnered with, among others, the Long Island Railroad Museum, the community garden, the Riverhead Blues Festival and the East End Arts Gallery to bring events and interest downtown.
-The BID brings grants to Riverhead. As President of the BID, I was personally involved, in successfully bringing grants to Main Street, to build a boathouse for crew races on our river, monies to repair and reopen the long shuttered comfort station, and dollars to create and build a synthetic ice skating rink. The only sidewalk repairs in recent years were done by the BID and the only new trees planted downtown were done by the BID.
-The BID maintains a presence for downtown Riverhead. The BID advertises downtown, promotes downtown, speaks for downtown and does ombudsman work to recruit and assist new businesses to locate here. How many of the headlines in this news source involve an event sponsored by the BID?
-The BID is efficient. The BID is a taxation entity created by Albany with as much political legitimacy as the Riverhead Town Board and we take our power over the purse quite seriously, in fact, we are the only special district in Riverhead to reduce our tax rate in recent years, while at the same time growing the services we offer the public. A lesson Councilwoman Giglio might want to try to emulate in town hall.
There is an old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Councilwoman Giglio would do well to learn that lesson. A few years ago, then Citizen Jodi Giglio, helped create the Riverhead Business Alliance, at that time, Ms. Giglio saw the need to promote downtown; about all the RBA did, was promote Jodi Giglio to become councilwoman. Unlike the now defunct RBA, the BID has no political agenda, we are made up of local business people and residents who serve on a volunteer basis to improve the town we love. The BID is a good neighbor, sounding board, presence and friend to local businesspeople. Our events bring life to downtown and showcase the progress we are making to revitalize Riverhead.
Councilwoman, it isn’t about tired old political vendettas and feuds, it is about kids holding their parents hands watching fireworks on Independence Day and people of all shapes and sizes coming from across Long Island to float rickety cardboard boats down our river to laugh and experience the fun of the new Riverhead.
Councilwoman, come join the fun downtown. Others are.
President, Riverhead Business Improvement District