Downtown Grand Junction’s Business Improvement District up for renewal
ABOUT DOWNTOWN’S BID FUNDING
There are many ways to fund BIDs across the nation. Grand Junction’s BID isn’t set up as a taxing authority (though other BIDs do it). Rather downtown property owners pay into a fund as part of a special assessment, which is managed by BID to do marketing, advertising promotions and special events for the area. Approximately $140,000 is generated by the special assessment, with additional revenue from event sponsorships and vendor fees. That brings the BID’s yearly income to about $310,000, which goes to managing downtown events, a staff position and general overhead.
Attention, downtown businesses: Your Business Improvement District — which manages downtown marketing, events and more — is up for renewal this fall.
Work sessions between Grand Junction City Council and BID were recently held, along with an informational session earlier this week for businesses. More educational events for BID members will be scheduled throughout the summer.
“The renewal of BID will be decided by City Council and City Council alone,” said Downtown Development Authority executive director Harry Weiss. “There will be no vote by the district members” since no change is planned to BID’s funding mechanism.
The Downtown Partnership includes the DDA (a statutory authority created to assist downtown development through capital projects) and BID (also a legislative mechanism serving downtown businesses). Weiss oversees both entities, along with a nine-member board that includes a City Council member.
BID “compliments the functions of the DDA (which cannot legally fulfill the functions of the BID) and is immeasurably important to the health of the core commercial activities that form the foundation of the downtown economy,” a BID renewal packet provided to City Council stated.
This is the BID’s first renewal since forming in 2006. Renewals for BIDS are required every 10 years, but Weiss said he wanted to start the process a full 18 months early for a few reasons.
1. Grand Junction’s current council is well acquainted with BID’s services and uses; with five council seats up for grabs next year, it’s beneficial to start the renewal conversation now with a council already versed on the subject.
2. If for some reason BID is not renewed, the DDA/BID staff and board will be able to transition necessary BID services to other local entities well before funding ends in 2016.
3. Weiss would like to open public dialogue now to determine if changes to BID services and events are desired by its downtown membership. BIDs aren’t limited to events and marketing. In other cities, BIDs manage welcome centers, business recruitment, area security and even keep streets clean.
According to Downtown Grand Junction (BID) marketing and communications director Aaron Hoffman, more than 260 businesses are served by BID, including retail, dining, salons and spas, hotels, motels, services (professional, banking, business, real estate, medical, etc.), and one full-service grocery store.
Hoffman’s position is paid for by BID and focuses on general downtown marketing, promotion of special events and other member services.
BID also organizes a variety of special events for the downtown area, including weekly Thursday farmers’ markets, Art & Music Festival, Spooktacular and the Parade of Lights, among others.
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