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Business Improvement District Could Bolster Downtown

October 22nd, 2013

Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District provide a variety of services including street cleaning and beautification, providing information, and security. [PHOTO: MinneapolisDID.com]
If you live, work or own a business in downtown Rochester, yesterday you might have received a request to answer a few questions. Do NOT throw it away! Trust me. It’s important.

That Downtown Satisfaction Survey external link is intended to gather insights which will help in establishing a Business Improvement District. What’s that? I’m glad you asked…

Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District provide a variety of services including street cleaning and beautification, providing information, and security. [PHOTO: MinneapolisDID.com]
A Business Improvement District, or BID, is a designated area in which property owners choose to supplement some city services for the benefit of the residents, property owners, workers, and visitors within that district. Property owners within the district pay a fee (based on property value) to support those services.

Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District provide a variety of services including street cleaning and beautification, providing information, and security. [PHOTO: MinneapolisDID.com]
There are nearly 1,000 BIDs in the U.S. …New York City alone has 67. Most recently, in 2011 Boston was the last of the largest 20 metro areas to establish a BID. The photos on this page are all from Minneapolis. They call their BID a “DID,” or Downtown Improvement District. But whatever the name, they all work similarly.

Here in Rochester, the High Falls neighborhood and the Village of Webster each have one.

Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District provide a variety of services including street cleaning and beautification, providing information, and security. [PHOTO: MinneapolisDID.com]
BID services often include general street cleaning, hosting special events, landscaping, upgrades to street furniture, holiday decorations, advertising & public relations, outreach for youth and the homeless, ambassadors to assist visitors, etc.

Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District provide a variety of services including street cleaning and beautification, providing information, and security. [PHOTO: MinneapolisDID.com]
Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) is the non-profit 501(c)4 that is driving Rochester’s BID and they are the ones who sent out the survey external link. RDDC has also been behind many other highly visible downtown initiatives over the years including the downtown information center at Main & Saint Paul Streets, and the Red Shirts who serve as a professional neighborhood watch team for the area inside the Inner Loop and High Falls. The BID would replace these – and do much more.

Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District provide a variety of services including street cleaning and beautification, providing information, and security. [PHOTO: MinneapolisDID.com]
Exactly what services and programs would be provided by Rochester’s BID will be determined by the BID plan – still in progress. And that’s why the survey external link we all received yesterday is so important. It will provide crucial information for the development of the BID plan.

Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District provide a variety of services including street cleaning and beautification, providing information, and security. [PHOTO: MinneapolisDID.com]
Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president of RDDC says, “A critical step in the exploration process is to gain a clear understanding of how the community views the current environment and services provided in our downtown.”

SO, if you live, work, attend classes, or own a business downtown please take the survey external link and don’t hold back. This could be BIG… I mean BID.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 at 7:47 am and is filed under Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

5 Responses to “Business Improvement District Could Bolster Downtown”

  1. twoeightnine says:

    I used to work in the planning department of the Center City District, Philadelphia’s highly successful BID. We were essentially the City’s planning department when it came to getting shit actually done. It was amazing how much we were able to transform the city over the years.

  2. Jason Haremza says:

    This is probably the single biggest operational issue for downtown, one that has the power to transform how people experience the city, and it gets only one comment. But the ghost at Durand-Eastman Park gets 25.

    I hope the lack of comments means everyone agrees with and will come out and support the BID formation when public support is needed, as it invariably will be.

  3. I agree. Some conversation did happen on Facebook here. Though, in hindsight, I should have folded a ghost story into it somehow. My bad.

  4. Jason Haremza says:

    A good local example is all the maintenance, operations, and programming that Buffalo Place, the downtown BID in Buffalo, does.
    http://www.buffaloplace.com/home

  5. Kevin Yost says:

    The district should not go beyond Union and Howell streets, however, except down East Avenue to its four corners with Alexander Street.


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