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Queens Chronicle

Woodhaven BID has new space

City agency cuts longtime ties to Economic Development Corp.

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Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019 10:30 am

Under pressure from the city to get a divorce, the Woodhaven Business Improvement District began moving out to the office it has shared with the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. for more than 25 years.

Raquel Olivares, the new executive director of the BID, is moving the agency to new quarters four blocks from its old headquarters above the Chase Bank on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway.

The new location is in a newly renovated, second floor walk-up at 89-07 Jamaica Ave.

“We have space for meetings now, a conference room, a reception area and desk space for an intern,” said Olivares as she walked through the empty space, dodging wet paint signs and waiting for a furniture delivery.

The BID, which is supported by a tax on local businesses and administered by the city, and the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp., a private business organization, had been jointly operated since 1993 by the late community organizer Maria Thomson, who ran them both out of the same office.

After her death in January 2018, the Department of Small Business Services, which oversees all city BIDs, pushed to separate the two organizations.

“This decision represents a move toward the typical management structure within most BIDs,” a spokesman for the DSBS said last April.

“The board [of the BID] unanimously voted to streamline management practices by terminating the agreement with GWDC, and incorporating management responsibilities into the functions of the BID’s future executive director.”

The BID was created to promote businesses along Jamaica Avenue from Dexter Court to 100th Street. The older GWDC was established to provide services for the neighborhood as well as local merchants.

GWDC is the sponsor of the annual Woodhaven Street Festival, a community event that has been a neighborhood staple for nearly 40 years.

The move to a new office severs the final tie between the two organizations.

Lisa Komninos, Thomson’s longtime assistant and now the GWDC’s executive director, will remain in the organization’s office.

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