The Greenport Business Improvement District will have its first new leader in 17 years when Peter Clarke takes the helm in January.
At a Friday night meeting, Mr. Clarke, owner of Clarke’s Garden on Main Street, was tapped to succeed Mike Acebo, who has led the BID since its inception in 1994. The official vote confirming his succession will take place in January.
For years, Mr. Acebo has been hoping to step down as BID president, but he said no one else wanted the job. But he said the BID has a renewed energy and it seemed like a good time for new leadership.
Mr. Clarke was instrumental in working with consultant Harold House to create a new BID website at www.greenportvillage.com.
During Friday’s meeting at Claudio’s restaurant, Mr. House gave a presentation on the new site, outlining how it differs from the old one and how traffic to the site has increased.
On Monday nights, Mr. House is available at Floyd Memorial Library beginning at 6 p.m. to teach individual merchants in how to maximize their appearances on the new website.
The new site is “very close to being a model efficiency site” that drives users to links to local businesses, Mr. House told BID members. While the site is about 60 percent developed, he envisions eventually streaming video and placing at least 10 webcams in the downtown harbor area.
“We just can’t do everything at once,” he said. “This will be a dynamo in a couple of years.”
At the same meeting, BID members approved a $50,200 budget for 2012-13 that is just slightly less than its current operating budget of $55,655.
The current spending plan included about $30,000 to support various events in the village events like the holiday festival, dancing in the Mitchell Park, Shakespeare performances in the park by Northeast Stage, new planters throughout downtown and photos in empty store windows to keep them from appearing deserted.
The BID will allocate 23.9 percent of its new budget to support events, 16.7 percent for website management, 13.9 percent for ongoing website development and 11.6 percent for printing costs. Other budget items include advertising and public relations, operating expenses, the 2012 Tall Ships event, district beautification and business development.