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Business Improvement/Community Benefit Districts

26 Mar Business Improvement/Community Benefit Districts

Did you know that there are at least 73 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in New York City alone, representing a budget of over $134 million and including over 85,000 businesses? In Los Angeles, there are 42 property-based BIDs, and in Philadelphia, at least 14. Washington, DC has 10 BIDs, including Capitol Hill and Adams-Morgan. Downtown Boston, Downtown Baltimore and New Orleans have BIDs, as do cities in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas and Wisconsin, and elsewhere. In 2011 there were over 1,000 BIDs in the USA, and many in Europe, Canada and South Africa.


The benefits of BIDs and Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) are generally counted in tons of trash and thousands of needles removed, number of graffiti tags cleaned and flower baskets or holiday lights  installed. We need to be vigilant and report not just the number of widgets we’ve processed, but the real benefit accrued. What is the impact of the CBD services?  How do we know whether outreach to homeless populations is  working? What about retail strategy-how many empty storefronts are there, what are we doing to promote businesses, how do we preserve the mix of retail in our neighborhood?

How can we best use our investment? How do we know when we’ve really made a difference?

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