Good morning, Chairman Recchia and members of the New York City Council Committee on Finance, my name is Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and I am here today to provide testimony in support of Intro 644, the establishment of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District.

I strongly support the creation of a business improvement district (BID) for the neighborhood of Westchester Square. In addition, Bronx Community Boards #10 and #11, as well as the Bronx Borough Board have both voted unanimously to support the creation of the BID.

Westchester Square is one of the most important commercial strips in the Bronx, and each day it brings thousands of residents, students and visitors to its confines to shop, eat and converse with their neighbors. A business improvement district in this area would bring new services to the community, such as street cleaning, new marketing efforts, community events and holiday lighting that are greatly needed to insure the future vibrancy and economic vitality of this commercial district.

The merchants of Westchester Square have come together over the last few years to make this dream a reality. In addition to the organizing the BID, sponsoring Merchant Sales Days, luring the Bronx Council on the Arts to a new home on the Square and sponsoring events for community youths, they have worked closely with local elected officials to rehabilitate Owen Dolan Park, which is in the heart of the BID area. My office and Council Member James Vacca have both provided capital funds for this project, which will be a focal point for new and exciting programs for senior citizens and the youth of the community.

The addition of the Westchester Square BID to the other existing BID’s in the Bronx will make the commercial districts in the Bronx even stronger.

The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and its president, Marlene Cintron, have also expressed their support of the BID and look forward to continuing to work with the BID management as they move forward.

I am is thankful to John Bonizio, the president of the BID Steering Committee, the property owners and all of the merchants for their commitment to the Bronx in establishing this BID. I look forward to continuing to work with the BID to make Westchester Square a premier shopping district.