Looking back over this year's accomplishments...
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2015 Year in Review

Central Avenue Business Improvement District

Media coverage

This year Central Avenue got a lot of press! In addition to the myriad of restaurant reviews and business stories featuring Central Avenue establishments (just check our Facebook or Twitter feed for mentions), we also had the privilege of being featured in numerous stories. Here are some of the highlights:


Ribbon-Cuttings and new businesses

We continued our tradition of helping businesses new to the district plan and promote their  ribbon-cuttings. We found last year that this was very popular with new business owners, and was a great way to get buy-in from new members. It also helps stimulate interest in our businesses, and build community and camaraderie between new and existing businesses.


This year, we welcomed a number of new businesses to Central Avenue, including:   

Programming Opportunities:


This year, the CBID continued to plug its businesses, seeking out opportunities to raise awareness about the district’s diverse offerings on and off-site. We printed another 10,000 copies of the Central Avenue Dining Guide, The Midtown Grid Guide, and our Goody Bags which had people crossing the sidewalk to get copies. We took these materials to the following events:

  • Alive@5, July - August 2015

  • Pride Fest, June 13, 2015

  • Danetopia, UAlbany’s Freshmen Orientation event, August 25, 2015

  • Live Life Local, October 24, 2015

  • City of Albany’s Panel Discussion on Minority and Women Owned Enterprises, October 27, 2015



We also coordinated with restaurants and grocery stores to provide samples of our restaurant’s food and dining guides to several busy off-site events:

  • My Brother’s Keeper Luncheon, January 30, 2015

  • International Center of the Capital Region’s Taste of the World, March 26, 2015

  • Taste of Albany 2015, April 30, 2015

  • Sage College’s Night Around the World, November 14, 2015

  • CBID Annual Open House, December 8, 2015



With the addition of five new retail businesses to the district, we decided to seek out new ways to boost our reputation as a shopping destination. We coordinated with organizers of several special retail events, in order to secure space for our retailers to do what they do best--sell their goods and services. Central Avenue businesses exhibited at the following off-site events:

  • Small Business Saturday, November 30, 2015

  • Albany Holiday Market, December 2, 2015

  • Google eCity Celebration, December 14, 2015


Collateral Materials:

Central Avenue Dining Guide, 2nd Edition

This year, the Central Avenue Business Improvement District released the second edition of the very popular, Central Avenue Dining Guide. This completely updated version covered the eight new restaurants that have moved to the district since the last printing. We also added two new feature articles, updated artwork, and updated the comprehensive listings.


The Midtown Grid Guide, 1st Edition

This 8-page guide and map, provides an introduction to the Midtown Grid, Central Avenue’s arts and entertainment district. The Midtown Grid Guide, lists and describes the area businesses, performing arts venues, and the groups who regularly program there: Albany Poets, Urban Guerilla Theatre, Knickerbocker Film Festival, Capital Cinema Cultural Exchange (CCCE), International Center of the Capital Region, ArtPartners/Tsehaya & Co., and the Pine Hills Review.


Central Avenue Goody Bags

We also collected collateral materials (coupons, flyers, pamphlets, brochures) from our businesses and then worked with Northeastern Association of the Blind to assemble goody bags containing those materials. The goody bags were labeled with our eye-catching new Central Avenue logo, and distributed at events where we tabled.

Special Events

Central Avenue Beautification Project, April 20, 2015 and September 12, 2015

Each spring and fall, students and community organizations partner with the BID to clean up and green up sections of Central Avenue. This spring, students from the College of Saint Rose came to the district to clean up around the gateway sign at Central Avenue’s West End. The school's Urban Launch program raked and picked up trash, weeded, removed ailing plants, and spread mulch to help pretty up this busy entrance to the city. In the fall, College of Saint Rose’s softball team returned to the district as part of Reach Out Saint Rose, a school-wide day of service. The team freshened up the gateway sign, repainting it, and planting mums at the base.


Drawing Up Central, Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest, May 9, 2015

This is the third year, the Central Avenue Business Improvement District has partnered with the City of Albany to present “Drawing Up Central,” a sidewalk chalk art contest on Central Avenue. This community-wide event, which is part of the City of Albany’s 67th Annual Tulip Fest featured artists from all over the region competing for cash and prizes in a sidewalk chalk art contest. The grand prize winner, Sam Wickstrom took home $500 for her piece, “Let’s Have a Party, Albany,” and second- and third-place winners took home prizes and gift certificates donated by area merchants. Many thanks to all our contestants, and to our sponsors, Capitalize Albany Corporation, Honest Weight Food Co-op, and Historic Albany Foundation, and to our media sponsor All Over Albany. Big shout-out to our friends at the Albany Police Department, City of Albany Special Events, and to Arlene's Artist Materials, Inc.


Scarecrows on the Avenue, Scarecrow Contest, October 9-26, 2015

This annual contest offered businesses the chance to advertise their business and have fun doing it. This year we had 13 scarecrows, up from 13 last year, and nearly 5,000 votes, the highest response yet. Each year, scarecrows are created by business owners and put on display at Westgate Plaza and Hannaford Plaza so the public can vote on their favorite. This year, we welcomed several out-of-district participants, including Lisha Middle School, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America, showing that this contest continues to widen its reach.


Star Student Holiday Decorations, November 30, 2015 - January 4, 2016

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, there's nothing as dazzling as the collective creativity of youngsters. Each year, the Central Avenue Business Improvement District works with elementary students from local schools to craft stars to decorate Central Avenue's Shopping District. This year, we worked with seven schools: Blessed Sacrament School, Brighter Choice Charter School for Boys, Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls, Albany City School's Montessori Magnet School, Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy, and West Hill Middle School, and Lisha Kill Middle School in Colonie. Each year, this project gets bigger, and it simply wouldn't be possible without the additional support of our generous "Star Sponsor": ShopRite. We also want to express our appreciation for our "Star Student Supporters": Darcy Knapp Consulting, Inc., American Glass Company of Albany, Honest Weight Food Co-op, Hudson Valley Community College Workforce Development Institute, ATAX, and TD Bank. We look forward to continuing this project next year.

Special Initiatives

Albany Police Department Neighborhood Engagement Unit Breakfast, June 25, 2015

The Central Avenue Business Improvement District partnered with local businesses to host a fundraiser in support of the Albany Police Department’s bike patrol unit. The BID hosted a breakfast at the Albany Ramada Plaza to honor the department and the officers who have made Albany’s streets safer. The CBID raised $5,000 with the help of sponsors: Noelle Kinsch, Albany County Legislator 6th District, Darius Shahinfar, Treasurer of the City of Albany, Rosen’s Uniforms, McVeigh Funeral Home, Harris Sanders Architects, Mildred Elley, Schenectady County Community College, Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany, Horizon Management Associates, HATAS, CDTA, Congressman Paul Tonko, and Bimbo Bakeries USA. The funds were used to purchase four new bikes for the bike patrol unit, and equip them.

Central Avenue Business Improvement District honors the Albany Police Department's Neighborhood Engagement Unit

The Midtown Grid: Central Avenue’s Arts and Entertainment District

Last year, the Central Avenue Business Improvement District (CBID) launched The Midtown Grid, a rebranding campaign for our Arts and Entertainment district. This year, the movement continued. We produced a print publication, The Midtown Grid Guide, which described not just the businesses in the Grid, but the groups who regularly program there: Albany Poets, Urban Guerilla Theatre, Knickerbocker Film Festival, Capital Cinema Cultural Exchange (CCCE), International Center of the Capital Region, ArtPartners/Tsehaya & Co., and the Pine Hills Review. This guide was distributed across the city, at tourist destinations and through these partner groups.


We also engaged interns from the New School Center for Media to produce a series of short videos about The Midtown Grid and build an accompanying website:


The Midtown Grid: The Movie

ReZone Albany: Central Avenue/Manning Square, August 10-12, 2015

City of Albany Planning Department reached out to the Central Avenue Business Improvement District to help facilitate a planning module on Central Avenue, as part of the ReZone Albany. ReZone Albany is an effort to create a Unified Sustainable Development Ordinance that is better aligned with the city’s comprehensive plan, and more user-friendly. The two-day visioning workshop brought together property owners, residents, and stakeholders from within and without the target area, and offered them the opportunity to discuss current uses and envision what the future might hold. Many exciting ideas came out of the module, including adding more mixed use development, mixed income housing, and higher density housing along this corridor. The workshop took place at The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Center during the day, and culminated in a final presentation on the evening of August 12, 2015. The BID assisted by reaching out to property owners and stakeholders, leading a tour of the focus area, marketing the event, and staffing workshops. The event was one of the more well-attended modules that the city held.

Copyright © 2016 Central District Management Association, Inc., All rights reserved.

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