The Importance of Downtown Associations
Proactively Molding the future, Instead of reacting to it.
Property and business owners work together and determine the level of services and improvements needed for the area. Coordinated programs are established such as economic development, marketing and public area enhancements (parking management, maintenance, graffiti removal and security). Members of a representative board of directors work with the city and the county in establishing partnerships as they carry out the goals. But probably the biggest strength an association has is in serving as a unifying voice for the downtown. By empowering property and business owners, needs are met in a more efficient manner and this gives the business district a stronger identity and greater competitiveness.
“BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) have often proven to be more effective than government in part because they can operate without bureaucracies, entrenched interests, electoral calculations or even ideology. They offer the virtues of the private sector without the corrupting influence of the profit motive.” - The New Yorker
Downtown Visalia Assessment District – PBID
1. Political Advocacy – Making A Difference
The voices of 200 property owners get the attention of politicians about critical issues affecting downtown. It is important to have an engaged elected board examining issues of the future. For example, because of anticipated future street closures which could affect downtown, the PBID Board of Directors has requested a study in order to make plans to enhance visitor and shopper traffic.
2. Graffiti Removal within 48 hours
Without this service there is not anyone to remove graffiti from private property aside from hiring a painter. The city only removes graffiti from public property. With government staff cutbacks you can expect to wait weeks to get graffiti removed from a phone, bench, fence, bridge or pole.3. 24-Hour Security
Without bike patrols there will be a marked increase in nuisance crimes like panhandling, skateboarding and bicycling on sidewalks. Graffiti and shoplifting will also rise but the most devastating effect will be a loss of customers if even one public felony occurs. Community members abandon downtowns in which they do not feel safe and secure, whether it is real or perceived.
4. Leveraging Private-Sector Funds
In the past 10 years, the city has paid more than $725,000 in assessments as part of the PBID district. They pay just like the private property owners do. In addition, downtown has been the beneficiary of millions of dollars in investment in projects benefiting the central business district.