Roosevelt Neighborhood property owners, business representative and interested citizens recently gathered at the Roosevelt Community Church for a Community Forum that provided insights into what communities can achieve with a Business Improvement District (BID).
While the proposed Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill BID has been a work in progress since last year, the Community Forum was the first opportunity for the general public to understand the process and its potential impact on our downtown.
Dave Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc., opened the presentation by pointing out “we are in the midst of building the urban heart of our city right now.” Unlike eastern cities or the coastal cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, Phoenix is very young and Krietor noted that “we have a unique opportunity to collectively plan for and build the city we want, district by district.”
The next level of development in the life of the city is happening now in our unique downtown districts and neighborhoods. Increasingly, these areas are coming together to build on those infrastructure bones to create and enhance vibrant neighborhoods that truly bring our urban core to life. A shining example of this important community building has been happening for the last 15 to 20 years in the Roosevelt/Evans Churchill area, which Krietor referred to as “Ground Zero for neighborhood and community building in downtown Phoenix.”
Learning From Others
Three different forum presenters provided their insights into the success of Business Improvement Districts in San Diego, Sacramento and elsewhere, including examples of how participating in a BID assessment has given area property owners an important seat at the table in their cities. They emphasized how property owners in these districts were empowered to make important decisions that have protected and developed the unique features and elements of their neighborhoods.
- Jimmy Parker, San Diego’s Gaslamp District. The success of this BID has meant a $10 return on every dollar invested through the assessment. The Gaslamp District also has developed the highest concentration of affordable housing and the highest concentration of hotels in the city.
- Liz Studebaker, Midtown Sacramento Studebaker’s references to this BID seemed to most resemble the Roosevelt Neighborhood. She explained how the district has been able to support the property owners desire that the arts be a significant defining feature of their neighborhood, followed closely by “third place” amenities such as food, coffee, beer and spirits. As a result of the success of their BID they have developed a much stronger connection with the city and have a direct line to the police for trash abatement and security.
- Allison Harnden, nighttime economy consultant. Harnden showed how planning for nightlife is key, and she pointed out that Roosevelt/Evans Churchill is in a unique position to carefully plan for all of the important elements that will support a thriving nighttime economy in the area.
Locals Weigh In
Greg Esser of the Roosevelt Row CDC and Tim Sprague, of Habitat Metro, a local residential and commercial property developer pointed out that the BID offers an opportunity for self-governance and a collective voice. Sprague openly admitted he’s in the “middle” in terms of his support for the district, but said “It’s a chance to work as a cohesive group.”
The forum concluded with a presentation by Nancy Hormann, the BID consultant who has been working with neighborhood stakeholders the past year to determine what services they want for their area and to develop a proposed workplan.
The consensus is that the added services should include management and administration of the workplan, beautification, added clean and safe services, a parking plan, business and development assistance, event management, and marketing & branding of the area. The estimated cost for these additional services would be $375,000. The city will contribute $75,000 (as an area property owner) and the remaining $300,000 would come from the property owners tax assessment.
By mid-June the final proposed workplan and assessments will be mailed to every property owner (with the exception of single family homeowners, or owners of multi-unit properties with four units or less) in the defined area, which runs east/west from 7th St. to 7th Ave., and from Fillmore St. on the south to Moreland/Hance Park on the north. Property owners will be asked to express whether they support the proposed BID, do not support it, or need further information.
Over the summer months, Nancy and her team will work to reach every property owner to answer questions and provide all of the information they need. Since the total assessment is $300,000, property owners representing $150,001 are needed for the BID to move forward to City Council for approval in the fall.
Property owners can learn more about what’s next for the proposed Roosevelt/Evans-Churchill area BID workplan and assessment by contacting Nancy Hormann directly at Hormann Associates.