Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation

downtownSI.nyc

Borough: Staten Island
Industry: Community

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What inspired you to create this website or entity?

In a nutshell, the inspiration for this website is love for the Downtown Staten Island community and a desire to help revitalize the area!Downtown Staten Island – consisting of the neighborhoods of St. George, Tompkinsville, and Stapleton -- has always been the civic and cultural hub of the borough. However, over the last several decades, changes in how people shop and where they live on the Island caused a decline in the neighborhood business environment.Recently, though, there has been increased interest from developers looking to take advantage of the beautiful waterfront in the three neighborhoods. For example, in St. George near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, New York City’s first and only designer outlet mall is preparing to open. And other large-scale mixed-use projects are either in place or preparing to open as well. This is great news for Downtown SI, so long as these ventures “spread the love” – meaning the surrounding community benefits from the increased volume of people they’ll bring to the area. There have been cases of small businesses located nearby other new, large developments around the city that have struggled to survive. That’s why the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation is working hard to make sure the existing small businesses in the Downtown Staten Island community are able to adapt to the new environment and thrive. This website is a crucial part of a full-blown plan to support those businesses.


How does your website or entity represent or contribute to the local community or borough which you represent?

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most influential business organization in the borough, serving the community for over 120 years. The Chamber is a non-profit entity, with a track record of proven success and dedication to strengthening all the neighborhoods of Staten Island.This website – developed and managed by the Chamber -- is a community hub specifically for the Downtown Staten Island community.For many years our offices were located in Downtown Staten Island, so we had a first-hand view of the changes taking place there over time. Now, as new major developments come online in the area, we are in a unique position to make sure the diverse, mixed-income local community is supported, so that all local stakeholders have the opportunity to flourish.We have done intensive community outreach to identify the major concerns of the residents, merchants, and property owners in the area. And we have put together a coalition of these stakeholders and others so that all parties are working together to achieve the common goal of a robust community.In recent years, we have begun to address some of the challenging issues affecting the neighborhood. For example, we hired a private sanitation worker to sweep the streets of the commercial corridor each weekday. We have also beautified street tree beds, and we engage community members in all these efforts. Recently, we initiated an “Adopt-A-Tree-Bed” program and stakeholders have signed on to help support our efforts.These are just a few examples of our work in the community. Others include hanging holiday lights across the commercial corridor and installing festive street banners that show neighborhood pride. We recently wrapped up a storefront improvement project in Stapleton that allowed us to assist merchants and property owners with physical improvements to their structure, their lighting and their streetscape.One of our biggest undertakings now is rolling out a marketing plan to promote Downtown Staten Island as a destination to live, work and play. This website is a crucial part of that plan. It is designed to serve as an all-around hub for everyone already in the district and anyone interested in visiting or relocating to the district: Everything from info about local school closings and libraries, to what’s happening in arts and culture, to which businesses are located where, and more.This website is a reflection of, and a resource for, a proud community.

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