Why Form a Business Improvement District?

Posted in Harbor Business Improvement District on August 3, 2010 by Eric Mercer

Cost-Effective Way to Tackle Common Issues and Respond to Specific Needs

“Through a collective effort, the BID can achieve dramatic results with programs like supplemental maintenance and marketing that no one business could cost effectively undertake alone.  For example, it is more cost effective and efficient contract with one vendor to provide landscaping services to the District and for each property owner to do so individually.”


“Programs can respond in specific issues: enhancing gateways or addressing maintenance issues like graffiti, cleanliness and alleys and high traffic pedestrian locations; improving streetscapes; or recruiting businesses.  Targeted marketing can promote residential, commercial and cultural opportunities to specific audiences.”

Stronger Position in the Regional Marketplace

“Creating and branding the location as a district destination, allows downtowns to competitively positioned themselves in the marketplace.  Using the same marketing and management principles used by malls, the BID maintains and promotes the district as a whole rather than the individual parts: as a destination where patrons can shop, dine, live and conduct business.  Some examples are Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vermont, the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, and Bryant Park in New York City.”

Advocacy with a Unified Voice

“A BID provides individual [businesses and]  individual property owners with a strong collective voice on issues that impact the physical, residential and business environment in the district.  Working together, [businesses and] property owners have a more powerful voice to influence action on issues impacting the district and the public policy process.  With better public safety as its goal, the Springfield, Massachusetts BID work in partnership with the city to purchase and install security cameras in targeted areas.”

Predictable Funding

“The guaranteed revenue stream allows the BID Board of Directors and staff to maximize the resources available to the BID and ensure the continuity of services.”

Proven and Positive Impact on Tendency in Property Values

“Due to BID efforts, properties benefit from improved values and higher occupancy rates, but also maintain their values and tenants during downturns in real estate cycles.  Property values within the Hyannis BID have doubled since its formation in 1999.”

Stability amid Political Change

BID’s can insulate a district during times of political change or uncertainty by providing the continuity needed to maintain programs and projects that have been identified as priorities for the district and will transcend administrations.”

Recommended Reading:  for more information, please read this report on Business Improvement Districts, published by the State University of New York, http://www.sunypress.edu/pdf/61551.pdf


Scituate’s Economic Development Commission

Posted in Economic Development Commission on July 26, 2010 by Eric Mercer

A. Preliminary Statement

  1. Scituate reflects the general economic condition of cities and towns across Massachusetts. Contracting economies are reducing the wealth, both in households and local government, available to pay for goods and services.

  2. The community’s mission is two-fold: discourage Scituate dollars from leaving the community; and, attract as many dollars as possible from surrounding areas into the community. A central focus needs to be: business in Scituate is a zero-sum game and every dollar represents a victory or a loss in a contest with every surrounding town.

  3. Economic development needs to be a general community mission for three reasons:

     a.  As a general proposition, “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”.

     b.  Robustness in the community tax base, local business community and consumer households are all inter-dependent.

     c.  A centerpiece for economic development in Scituate could be the Industrial and Development Commission.

B. Scituate’s Industrial and Development Commission

  1. Local Industrial and Development Commissions are statutory creatures (MGL Chp. 40, § 8A) and each community is authorized to have one. Scituate’s commission has been inactive for a number of years, but a plan is being a formulated to reestablish our local commission (“Scituate Commission”) as part of an over all plan of action to increase local wealth.

  2. First, plans for the Scituate Commission are fluid, a recognition that the process of developing the plan, in and of itself, will identify additional factors that deserve to be incorporated into the plan.

  3. By statute, the commission’s population starts at five (5), with the general charge to promote and develop Scituate’s “industrial” resources, by:

     a.  Conducting researches into industrial conditions.

     b.  Investigating and assisting in the establishment of educational or commercial projects, including projects involving private enterprise.

     c.  Co-ordinating the activities of unofficial bodies.

     d.  Conduct advertising, printing and distributing books, maps, charts and pamphlets.

     e.  Appointing clerks and other employees as may be required.

C. Missions for the Scituate Commission:

  1.  The Commission’s nonexclusive objectives are to enhance existing business, attract new business, encourage redevelopment and new development by:
  2. Attract new employers.
  3. Improve efficiency of existing businesses
  4. Improve the capture of dollars.
  5. Encourage formation new business.
  6. Enhance local capital formation.
  7. Tailor local land use regulation for business.
  8. Increase local aid and write grant applications.

D. Qualifications for Commission Members

  1. Potential members should have experience in:
  2. Economic Development Initiatives
  3. Business Planning Experience
  4. Marketing Experience
  5. Real Estate Development Experience
  6. Experience in Start-up Business
  7. Legal/government Relations
  8. Planning, Marketing, Research, Financial, Grant Writing

The Harbor Business Improvement District

Posted in Harbor Business Improvement District on July 20, 2010 by Eric Mercer

What is a Business Improvement District

A BID is a special assessment district in which the property owners vote to initiate, manage and finance supplemental services or enhancements above and beyond those municipal services already provided.  The assessment is loaded only on property within the district and expanded within the district for a range of services and/or programs included in the BID Improvement Plan, such as marketing, maintenance and public safety.  This stable, local management structure provides a sustainable funding source for the revitalization and long-term maintenance of city/town centers, neighborhood commercial districts and even industrial areas.  BID’s attract residents, customers, clients, shoppers and other businesses.

What Are the Common Things That BID’s Do

▸    Special Events
▸    Public Relations
▸    Collaborative Marketing
▸    Promotional Print Materials
▸    Websites
▸    Holiday Lighting and Decorations
▸    Historic Tourism

▸    Streetscape Plantings/Trees/Windowboxes and Hanging Baskets
▸    Maintenance of Grass and Planting Beds
▸    Watering

Capital Improvements
▸    Wayfaring Signs
▸    Streetscape/Pedestrian/Traffic Calming Design Improvements
▸    Lighting
▸    Trash Receptacles
▸    Public Art
▸    Alleyway Design

Business Development
▸    Market Analyses
▸    Business and Retail Recruitment
▸    Merchandising Incentives and Outreach

▸    Street and Sidewalk Cleaning
▸    Graffiti and Gum Removal
▸    Spring Cleanups

Public Safety
▸    Public Safety Officers
▸    Visitor Assistance–Guide Programs
▸    Public Safety Information Networks
▸    Solicitation Deterrence Programs

Community Services
▸    Homeless Programs
▸    Youth and Student Programs
▸    Fund Raising

▸    Housing Development Incentive Programs
▸    Residential Services

Economic Development
▸    Own, Lease, Choir, Manage Real Estate
▸    Historic Preservation
▸    Infrastructure Enhancements
▸    Facade Grant Programs

▸    Advocacy for Zoning
▸    Community Planning
Parking Facilities