Digital Districts Efforts officially launch in New York City, supported by the Governor, Mayor

In February Zack Huhn visited Albany, NY with Rhonda Binda to discuss defeating the digital divide in our school districts and business improvement districts, alike. Months later Venture Smarter and Jamaica BID are excited to announce the launch of Digital Districts efforts throughout New York beginning in Jamaica, Queens.

In February Zack Huhn visited Albany, NY with Rhonda Binda to discuss defeating the digital divide in our school districts and business improvement districts, alike. Months later Venture Smarter and Jamaica BID are excited to announce the launch of Digital Districts efforts throughout New York beginning in Jamaica, Queens.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jamaica’s business leaders excited to defeat the digital divide with broadband access, applaud Governor Cuomo for $100mm Downtown Revitalization Initiative
July 19 2017, 
Jamaica, Queens

Jamaica Business Improvement District (BID) is working with local businesses and neighborhood organizations to build a complete Digital District using technology as a tool to improve outcomes for people - residents, businesses, educational institutions and government agencies. Rhonda Binda, Executive Director of Jamaica BID said, "We have a long road ahead but with the support of the Governor and Mayor this is not only an opportunity for the local businesses, local residents and the community to prosper and grow into the digital age, but this is also a tremendous opportunity for outside investors to infuse and invigorate in an already established thriving smart infrastructure strategy."

The Digital Districts initiative in Jamaica will be a pilot effort, eventually replicated throughout the city, state and region that was initially prompted by Venture Smarter's CEO Zack Huhn following a panel discussion in Albany in February with Senator Leroy Comrie. The idea is to create a foundational layer of connectivity for people, places, things, and information upon which interoperable smart city solutions will scale. The campaign will connect local businesses and local residents to the digital world, furthering equitable social mobility and creating sustainable economic development. 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has continued to be a constant and unwavering ally in modernizing infrastructure and revitalizing downtowns. On behalf of the Governor, on July 12th, 2017, Lt. Gov. Hochul announced the winning projects selected for Jamaica as part of the state’s $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Jamaica BID successfully advocated to secure the largest allotment of funds from the DRI to strengthen its broadband infrastructure, supporting the delivery of high-speed service to existing local businesses and local residents.

“Jamaica is poised for substantial job and economic growth as the [selected] Downtown Revitalization Initiative neighborhood for New York City. The projects announced today will capitalize on Jamaica’s higher education institutions, cultural cornerstones, diversity, and status as a transportation hub to increase its appeal to residents, workers, students, and visitors, fueling its growth through career preparation, entrepreneurship programs, business creation and downtown improvements,” said Lt. Gov. Hochul.

Venture Smarter Founder and President Zack Huhn noted, "When Rhonda and I met with Governor Cuomo in Albany in February, we were excited to dialogue about smart city solutions outside of New York City's downtown core. We want to connect the same or comparable resources and opportunities to the outer boroughs and suburbs, and eventually to New York's rural regions as well." Those ideas drove Venture Smarter's launch of Regional Smart Cities Initiatives such as Digital Districts with the notion that Smart Regions go beyond city limits. They enable smaller communities to implement smart city solutions. They seamlessly connect our urban cores to our suburbs and rural areas, improving quality of life and economic opportunity for all.

The idea of creating a smart city or a smart region is not possible unless the tools being created and enacted are accessible to all people. As neighborhoods improve, residents need the tools to stay competitive and thriving - avoiding gentrification and cultural displacement. Jamaica BID is committed to finding innovative ways to use public private partnerships to advance equitable growth through digital infrastructure. The BID endeavors to optimize and replace outdated systems and infrastructure to create better experiences and outcomes that promote equitable and sustainable futures for local businesses and residents alike.

“With the support from Governor Cuomo and under the leadership of Executive Director Rhonda Binda, downtown Jamaica continues to be revitalized, rejuvenated, and has taken leaps and bounds forward into the digital age. With Rhonda at the helm, the future of Downtown Jamaica has never looked brighter,” said Huhn.  

About Jamaica Center Business Improvement District

Founded in 1979, the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District promotes downtown Jamaica as a premier destination, to shop, live, work, play. For more information, please visit www.jamaica.nyc.

About Venture Smarter
Venture Smarter helps government, academic, and business leaders build smart cities and connected communities. To learn more, please visit venturesmarter.com.