by Sue Ann Rybak

The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) can breathe a sigh of relief now that Philadelphia’s City Council has renewed its charter for another five years.

“We are very excited that the Mt. Airy BID received approval to continue operating for an additional five years,” said Ken Weinstein, BID chair. “The BID renewal will mean cleaner streets and a more attractive and vibrant business district for the at least the next five years. It was relatively easy to explain to property owners the need to continue the BID after five years of successes that include installation of 100 colorful flower baskets, 80 attractive banners, 140 security lights, 50 BigBelly trash cans and more clean and safe streets and sidewalks.”

The Mt. Airy BID was established in 2007 to promote, beautify and clean the neighborhood, decrease crime and increase economic growth. It is funded by the 200-plus property owners along the Avenue between Washington Lane and Cresheim Valley Drive that pay 18 percent of their property taxes directly to BID.

BID also applies for grants that help fund projects, such as the 50 Big Belly Solar Powered trash and recycling receptacles along the Avenue. In addition, Weinstein said, nonprofit property owners also contribute an estimated $5,000 a year towards BID’s annual budget.

Weinstein said 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass was extremely helpful throughout the process.

Bass said the BID charter reauthorization was “incredibly important to its ability to maintain an attractive destination and to build upon its past success to make Mt. Airy, and the Northwest as a whole, an even more desirable place to live and do business.”

“The continuation of the BID’s good work will be helpful up and down Germantown Avenue in revitalizing our commercial corridors,” she added.

Weinstein said that, looking forward, BID will continue to focus on its core mission of keeping the streets clean and safe.

“Our two full-time ambassadors, Cookie and Derick, work hard, each and every day, to keep the sidewalks and street gutters of the business district clean,” Weinstein said.

He added that BID will continue to maintain and upgrade the facades along the Avenue. It will continue to help create an inviting shopping atmosphere by continuing to provide holiday decorations and seasonal plantings.

“Our ultimate goal is to increase the vibrancy of the Germantown Avenue business corridor and to spread this vibrancy down into Germantown by way of the new Germantown BID, now being organized,” Weinstein said.