[ Back to BID News ]
April 22, 2008
A group of senior elected officials from Gifu Prefecture, Japan, selected New Rochelle’s Business Improvement District (BID) as their only case study on downtown revitalization in their five day fact finding tour to the United States. On April 16, 2008, the 9-member delegation and representatives from the Japan Local Government Center spent the day in downtown New Rochelle meeting with merchants and building owners. The Japanese government officials, Assembly members (similar to State Senators in capacity) represent Gifu, a prefecture in the center of Japan with 21 cities and more than 2.1 million people.
| Gifu Delegation meets with Louis Vaccaro and Robert Kaesinger, owners of the Curtain Shop, to discuss their participation in the BID Model Block Program.|
| photo courtesy of Ivar Hyden|
According to Sho Nakazono, a representative of the Japan Local Government Center, government officials in Japan are becoming increasingly interested in Business Improvement Districts as a way of enabling private business and property owners to participate in the downtown revitalization process. He stated: “The Gifu delegation was impressed with how, in New Rochelle, a BID was able to create financing and technical
assistance programs to help smaller property owners invest in their properties and expand businesses building on the City’s impressive larger development projects such as Avalon, Trump Plaza and New Roc.”
At Monroe College, Ralph DiBart, the Executive Director of the BID, provided a detailed overview of the multi-layered programmatic approach that BID has taken to downtown revitalization and its working partnership with City government. Before the group toured the downtown to view improvements they enjoyed a bird’s eye view of New Rochelle from Top of the Roc, Avalon’s dramatic rooftop community space and lunch at Coromandel Indian Restaurant.
The officials toured interior and exterior building restorations recently completed along Division Street and along the BID’s Model Block at the Curtain Shop, Talner Jewelers, and Diamond Glass. The delegation then visited with Candice Denslow and Dom Cioffoletti, owners of Consign It on Main, a new downtown antiques center who discussed their success on Main Street and their plans, after only fourteen months downtown, to expand into a second, larger 5,000 square foot Main Street retail space. Accompanied by real estate broker Nicholas Russo, they also toured luxury residential condominiums on Main Street at the Davenport Lofts and 543 Condominums. As they concluded their visit to Main Street the delegation admired the City’s flowering street trees and daffodil filled BID planters.
At the end of the tour, the head of the Gifu delegation, Assemblyman Masahiro Ito, stated: “Urban redevelopment is an important issue for both American and Japanese cities. It is difficult for the public sector and the private sector to revitalize communities unless they work together as a partnership. I was impressed by the concept of the business improvement district and in particular what it has accomplished in the City of New Rochelle.”
The visit was arranged by the Japan Local Government Center (JLGC), a nonprofit organization representing local governments in Japan, which conducts research of administrative and financial systems of local governments in the United States, and fosters mutual cooperation and understanding between Japan and the United States.