17th Annual Meeting


            June 10, 2010 marked 17 years of operation for the 125th Street Business Improvement District. The Annual Meeting held at Harlem’s own Hip Hop Cultural Center, located at 2309 Fredrick Douglass Blvd. The meeting began with a welcome and address by the BID’s chairman Vincent Morgan. Our Chairman moved on to give a brief recognition of the meetings guests speakers, board members, the 125th Street BID staff and the banner competition winners. Immediately following was the approval of the Agenda and Minutes. The BID’s chairman Vincent Morgan gave his report, informing the meetings attendees of the BID’s latest actions such as its restructuring of staffing, adaptation to its forced move, the recruiting of new members and the revision of the budget to accommodate unanticipated costs. He moved forward by giving a brief summary and description of the BID’s Programs and Initiatives. Including a plan devised by the BID to accommodate the community’s wants and needs of Holiday Décor.

            The BID’s Secretary and Chair of Nominations Lisa Tucker moved the meeting to its next phase by presenting the elections and re-elections of board members for the new Fiscal year. A total of four current Board Members were up for re-election and a total of five people will become new Board Members of the 125th Street Business Improvement District. Property Owner Leah Abraham,  commercial tenants Curtis Sherrod of the Hip Hop Cultural Center and Rajendra Patel of Family Pharmacy and Surgical Inc., Residential Tenant Karia Hill, and Non-Voting, Alexsandria Truglio of Aloft Hotel will be the additions to the BID’s Board of Directors for the 2010-2011 Fiscal year.

            President & CEO Barbara Askins presented the Budget for fiscal Year 2010-2011.Ms. Barbara Askins then discussed in greater depth, the BID’s main objectives and priorities. Attendees were given a review of the BID’s programs and initiatives, Our Public Safety Program, Our Clean Team and Our Banner Program. Our Public Safety Program whose ambassadors serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for 125th Street. At this time the Public Safety program is in jeopardy, The BID is in need of additional funds in order to keep the program running at an effective pace. Our clean team continues to deliver supplemental services to the businesses of 125th Street taking a heavy load off of their daily responsibilities. The 125th Street BID’s clean team removed approximately 70, 000 tons of garbage last year. The BID on Culture Banner program has been successful in recent years in livening up the streetscape of 125th Street. The Program provides a new look for the district annually, gives a great opportunity to local artists as well as provides supplemental revenue for the BID through its sponsors. Ms. Barbara Askins also gave the meetings attendees a preview of the BID’s new, more user friendly website that we are in process of building in partnership with NYC’s Dept of Small Business Services. 

             The guest speaker at the Annual meeting was Chief Phillip Banks III. Chief Banks is chief of Manhattan North, commanding officer of twelve precincts between 59th street and the Bronx. Chief Banks discussed what he felt was the most important part of policing for making change in any community, relationships between the community and the police. He discussed the importance of getting to know the officers in your area and also the importance of the officers getting to know the individuals in the community. He also discussed the importance of parents being actively involved in their children’s lives to avoid them becoming troubled youths and also the importance of adults and parents being willing to work with the police in an effort to reverse the trends of today’s trouble youths. Chief Banks gave a motivating, informative and heartfelt speech at the 125th Street BID’s annual meeting.


            The guest presenters for the Annual Meeting were Maxine Griffith (Executive Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at Columbia University and Special Advisor for Campus Planning) and Victoria Mason – Ailey (Associate Vice President, Planning project Coordination, Office of Government and Community Affairs) of Columbia University. The University presented the meeting’s attendees with Columbia University’s Manhattanville Update. The Manhattanville update is the University’s environmentally sustainable development plan to expand the campus. Ms. Ailey explained that the project will bring jobs, some housing and revitalization to the currently underdeveloped area. Ms. Griffith also discussed the University’s middle school that provides an excellent public education to a select group of students. The Middle school’s main objective is to prepare students to be successful in life and to prepare them to take the necessary steps needed to achieve their goals. The goal of the instructors is to encourage the students to attend college upon completion of high school. Hopefully most students will opt to become students at Columbia University.
            The Entertainment for the meeting consists of an accapella style rap done by Hip Hop Culture Center’s associate Pete Colon. Two other talented youth associates of the Hip Hop Culture Center, Purple Haze and D-Nasty also performed short but excellent song and poetry about Harlem. To end the meeting the Fred McFarlane Band played classics and favorites that put just about everyone in good spirits for the day.