By Alicia Venter
As Long Island City expands, the Long Island City Partnership President Laura Rothrock has her hands full. Beginning in September, Rothrock has taken the mantle of an organization unlike any other in Queens, offering aid to local businesses, members and stakeholders to Long Island City.
The mission of the partnership, which is the neighborhood development organization for Long Island City, is to advocate for the economic development of the community. The partnership is a member and sponsor-based organization.
The partnership, which also manages a business improvement district (BID), which began in 2005, has shown its strength in the past year. In the 2022 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, there were 30 new businesses opened in the BID’s boundaries. That is a record number, which Rothrock noted is interesting given the residual effects of the pandemic.
“It’s been a tricky time economically, but people have long-term confidence in Long Island City, which is great,” Rothrock said.
The BID’s core services include marketing, sanitation, beautification and public safety.
Through their services, 204 businesses were assisted with permit approval, access to financial and payment plans set up with Con Edison within the fiscal year.
“A BID is only a piece of what we do,” Rothrock said. ”We do a lot with a limited budget.”
The LIC BID has a texting service to directly connect with the community regarding their services. Rext LICBID to (929) 269-8848 for more information.
The organization provides business services to six different zip codes, helps community members navigate the city agencies, manages a marketing team and holds events. A key initiative for the partnership is marketing for stakeholders and so locals can see the services offered nearby.
“We’re really unique because we are the most mixed use community in the country,” Rothrock said. “We want to be able to promote that more.”
The partnership has their marquee event soon — the LIC summit is on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
The event will be a panel discussion — with speakers including Councilwoman Julie Won and Queen Borough President Donovan Richards — on how being a mixed-use neighborhood has contributed to the resiliency of the community, as well as Long Island City’s future.
The LIC Summit will be held at the Museum of the Moving Image, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased through the LIC Partnership website, licqns.com.
There are typically four major events held by the partnership, such as the Real Estate Breakfast held in March. These events, Rothrock said, bring a “signature program” for the partnership.
Working with elected officials such as Won — who is on the board of the partnership automatically as the councilwoman for the area — and the Borough President’s office, the partnership is able to connect with the local residents in the community as well as the businesses it serves.
“Even though we are a business organization, we also want to collaborate with the residents and that we’re promoting the local retail business to the residents,” Rothrock said.
Her last job was as a consultant at Nicholas and Lence Communications. Prior to this, during the Bloomberg Administration, she worked at the Department of Small Businesses Services and managed the BID Program. As such, she has experience both as a private consultant and within the government.
The organization is working on two BID expansions, one towards the west and one to the east, past Sunnyside Gardens. Stakeholders outside of the Long Island City BID boundaries expressed the need for supplemental services, the partnership website stated, to address the changing needs of the neighborhood. If all goes through, the BID assessment budget will double through this growth.
It will be under “the BID umbrella,” Rothrock said, but given the difference in the neighborhoods, each sub-district needs its own budget and planning to meet its needs.
The expansion to the east is in the industrial area of Long Island City, and it has no residents.
“For all intents and purposes, we’re one BID, but [the east expansion] will have its own budget and slightly different services, because the services needed in the industrial area are different,” Rothrock said.
It is a very lengthy process to expand the BID, Rothrock said, beginning with a planning phase that took the partnership approximately two years to complete.
The outreach phase has begun, which included four public forums, and soon the planning will enter the legislative phase.
Rothrock’s experience prior to becoming President allowed her to transition easily into the role.
The biggest controversy in Long Island City is Innovation QNS, which the partnership has expressed support of through testifying at the city council meetings.
“We’re hoping that they reach an agreement, because it really would be a missed opportunity if the project didn’t go through,” Rothrock said.
However, Rothrock expressed how the organization is apolitical and non-partisan — Innovation QNS does not fall within the boundaries of the BID, and they purely look at the project as a way for the community to grow economically, as well as gain quality of life improvements such as new open space.
More information about the LIC Partnership can be found at www.licqns.com