Momentum growing for Edmonds Business Improvement District

Map of proposed Business Improvement District.

The committee working to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) for Downtown Edmonds announced Tuesday in a news release that it has reached 50 percent of the signatures needed before the Edmonds City Council can create a BID.

In meeting its June 30 goal, the BID committee chaired by David Arista of Arista Wine Cellars remains on target to present the required number of signatures to the City Council by January 2012.

“Signing the petition to create a Downtown BID has been an easy choice for most people,” Arista said of the business owners his committee has approached so far. “It’s a small investment—anywhere from $10 to $50 per month—and the BID will be able to accomplish so much more than an individual business could do on its own.”

Business Improvement Districts are designed to aid general economic development and to facilitate merchant and general business cooperation. A BID is a local funding mechanism that allows businesses within a defined area to establish a special assessment district.

Funds raised can be used by the BID to provide services, management, facilities and programs to the district. In this case, the proposed BID includes an area of Edmonds bordered by Bell Street on the north, Durbin Street on the east, Homeland Drive on the south and Railroad Avenue North on the west.

Thousands of successful BIDs are in existence around the country and the world, including the Seattle neighborhoods of West Seattle, Downtown Seattle and the International District, Arista said.

Businesses within the district are assessed a figure based on their square footage, with retail establishments paying a higher rate than service and professional businesses. Money raised would provide a stable funding source to help keep the area lively, attractive and prosperous, he added.

“The Edmonds BID budget will be developed once we’ve gotten input and ideas from all BID members,” Arista said. “There are some great ideas on the table already, and I know that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Arista said that the committee has been meeting with business owners for the past few months with the goal of bringing awareness of the BID “to all the business owners within the district,” in the near future.

Visit the Edmonds BID website for information about the BID, including a map and a list of businesses supporting the petition, which requires signatures equal to at least 60 percent of the total assessment. Businesses interested in signing the petition can contact a committee member listed on the website for more information.

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