We love this city and we work hard to make it better every day.
That's why we're working on a new business improvement district (BID) for downtown Rochester. With your support, we can expand vital services to provide a safer and more beautiful environment, boost property value, and enhance overall quality of life.
An effort led by Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) is underway to establish a business improvement district (BID) in downtown Rochester. A BID is a defined geographic district with a self-imposed "common area maintenance fee" that is paid for by property owners, to provide enhanced services above and beyond what the city is able to provide. These higher level services typically include a mix of sidewalk cleaning, safety, hospitality, beautification, downtown marketing and promotion, and street events.
BIDs have helped to improve some of America's best cities. They exist in almost every one of the top cities in the U.S., including Cincinnati OH, Pittsburgh PA, and Providence RI. BIDs have proven to be powerful and transformational vehicles. A study by the Furman Center found that, on average, BIDs increased commercial property values in New York City areas serviced by BIDs. Property owners pay a higher fee, but the ROI is palpable.
We all travel. Have you ever stood in another city’s vibrant downtown and wondered, "Why can’t we be more like this?" Chances are, that city's downtown is being managed by a BID. BIDs not only help provide a safe and clean environment, but can also create vitality and street life. And that’s what our downtown needs. We want a vibrant downtown for ourselves, but we also want to be proud of our downtown when people visit our city. Wouldn't it be great if they asked the question, "Why can’t my city be more like Rochester?"
A BID is a designated area in which property owners choose to supplement city services to help improve conditions for business and the environment for the benefit of the area’s residents, workers, and visitors. Enhanced services typically include a mix of sidewalk cleaning, safety, hospitality, beautification, downtown marketing and promotion, and street events. Property owners pay a self-imposed “common area maintenance fee” which underwrites enhanced services that property owners and businesses want, but city government is unable to provide.
Rochester Downtown Partnership is the private, not-for-profit
501(c)(3) organization that would manage the operations of the proposed BID.
Formed outside City Hall, property owners create BIDs to gain more control over their environment in which their investments sit. BIDs guarantee consistent levels of services over time and across changes in political administration, and keep a laser-like focus on what downtown needs. BID stakeholders decide what matters, determine the level of funding, and set service priorities. By pooling funds and leveraging economies of scale, more services – and a higher quality of service – can be achieved.
The proposed boundary for the downtown BID would include the area within the Inner Loop, High Falls, Upper East End, Alexander Park, and Monroe Avenue from Averill Street to the Inner Loop. This geography includes over 1,085 individual properties and 505 property owners.
The proposed governance structure includes a 15-member governing board which would be created to oversee the operations of the BID management entity. This board would be made up of 9 property owners, 3 tenants (commercial and residential), and 3 City appointees (required by NYS law). There would be two classes of membership – property owners and district tenants - which would collectively elect the 12 non-appointed directors.
Many property owners are already paying into one or more of the three existing entities: the Main Street Enhancement District, Downtown Special Services Inc ("Red Shirts" program), and Rochester Downtown Development Corporation. All three would be dissolved if a BID is approved, and the best of their services would be incorporated into a consolidated, reconstituted entity - the BID.
The Proposed District Plan document contains extensive information and detail about the BID that is being proposed for downtown Rochester. In addition, a BID Frequently Asked Questions document provides more in-depth questions and answers. You may also call or email us with your questions at (585) 546-6920 or .
Great first impressions and
local pride start with the
appearance and upkeep of
Aesthetic appeal, exciting events, and an attractive street-level atmosphere are key ingredients to a thriving downtown.
A friendly environment for residents, workers, and visitors makes a big difference in how people experience our downtown.
Events, marketing, and support for investors, businesses and residents help to spur real investment and vitality.
While the boundaries will be changing in response to feedback from downtown stakeholders, the intent is the same. The proposed BID would take the best functions of three existing entities that currently provide services downtown – the Main Street Enhancement District, Downtown Special Services Inc., and Rochester Downtown Development Corporation – and combine them into the proposed downtown Business Improvement District. The 501(c)(3) management entity would be named Rochester Downtown Partnership.
Work has been underway for years to conduct extensive research, benchmark other cities, and develop a draft Proposed BID Model for Rochester. Dozens of property owners, business leaders and other stakeholders (see a Process Engagement List) have been engaged in the process. These efforts have culminated into a multi-phased campaign to put forth a District proposal, educate and gain feedback, and seek petition support from downtown property owners.
Gain customer and public input on services through online survey & discussion groups; feedback impacts development of a proposed BID model that includes geography, assessment formula, services, budget, and governance structure
Meetings and forums with potential district payers and stakeholders to educate and get feedback on the proposed BID model
Form committees to review feedback and develop final proposed BID model
Continue to review feedback and develop final proposed BID model
Conduct campaign to obtain petition signatures from property owners based on a final proposed BID model
City Council approval of “intent to form district”; proposal goes to State Comptroller
City Council votes to authorize District, BID entity formed
BID WOULD BEGIN OPERATIONS
Once the BID proposal is modified to reflect stakeholder feedback, new property charges will be calculated. This process should be completed in the spring of 2015. Individual estimated property charges will be available at that time. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact us at (585) 546-6920 or .
Keep an eye out on your mailbox in the coming months for information that will be sent directly to property owners.