For more than a year, the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee (WFDAC) has been figuring out how to create a Business Improvement District in the Pike District. A Business Improvement District, usually called a BID, will brand and market the Pike District, ensure our community stays safe and clean, organize events, and advocate for the White Flint Area.
Yesterday the WFDAC sent to the County Council and County Executive their road map for creating a BID. You can read their report here. Below are the highlights of the report:
The WFDAC evaluated the Urban District model and other models for delivering enhanced commercial district services including the Business Improvement District (BID) model commonly found in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia and the Commercial District Management Authority model found in Bethesda. The WFDAC focused on questions of governance, minimum funding required for effective services, and potential revenue.
In 2016, the WFDAC sponsored a series of focus groups that included 26 local businesses, individuals, and organizations. Individual interviews of representatives of 37 public and private entities were held in Summer 2017. The WFDAC and select partner organizations participated in a September 20, 2017 workshop to review the data collected. The results of the focus groups, interviews, and workshops shaped the content of this report.
As a result of this process, WFDAC finds that:
1. A Business Improvement District (BID) is preferred over an Urban District, Urban District Corporation, or a voluntary model. The BID model is preferred for several reasons. Among the most important reasons: participants seek to exercise a high degree of control over who governs the organization, what menu of services are delivered, and to what degree staff are accountable to stakeholders.
2. Branding and place-making are the two highest priority service areas.
3. The preferred boundary for the district would be based on the boundary of the White Flint Sector Plan. This boundary has the advantage of being consistent with a designated County planning district, thus making data collection easier, and as a Sector plan area, several projects are already in the pipeline.
4. A Montgomery County law is needed to implement the MD BID law. It is our understanding the MD BID law is not sufficient on its own to implement a BID in Montgomery County. As with Urban District Corporations, it appears that a local law is needed to provide further guidance on the powers and structure of a BID and its relationship to the County.