The other day I ran across several articles from the Triplicate, Dec. 6, 2006, by Hilary Corrigan, that brought on deja vu. The stories were about an entity called the Business Improvement District.
In the articles were questions, anger, suggestions and opinions from the business owners within the Business Improvement District, which was approved by the City Council in 1993. Forgotten for years by the city, it faded in memory until a few business owners decided that the city was in need of it again. So from the ashes it has arisen and with it brings the same concerns.
Another article written in the Triplicate in 2006 said the request for dis-establishment of the BID was again requested by some business owners. Since 1993 more than 73 businesses have come and gone from the district known as the BID. Even the business owners that were instrumental in beginning the BID are gone.
In 2010 we conducted a "show of interest" by BID members to see if
the opinion had changed over the last four years. The survey was
impartial, members were allowed to mark yes or no, write "no opinion"
or, if they chose, write "refused to sign." The results showed that the
majority of the business licensees do not want to be part of the BID as
mandated by the city. Now again in 2011 the City of Crescent City did
"their" survey, with 76 percent saying no to continuing the BID.
There seems to be a problem of confusing issues here. Do not tell us
that we are not informed of what BID has done or is, we are well aware
of what has been going on. Just because we do not believe in the BID
does not make us less patriotic or caring for the community or the city.
The question is not whether we want downtown to be pretty or
prosperous or inviting or safe. Of course we do, this is where we have
put our soul, time and money into our businesses in hopes of making a
livelihood, and over the last 18 years that BID has been in existence it
has not been a deciding factor in the majority of changes in the
When asked what the BID has done for the city we get the same
answers, Halloween and Christmas parades and planting flowers. It takes a
lot more than a Halloween or Christmas parade or Miracle on Third
Street to keep businesses downtown. After thousands of dollars of
taxpayer money and special assessments spent by city staff to administer
the unwanted program, it's time to move on to more important tasks.
It has been private business owners who have spent their own monies
to make the downtown attractive and viable. We participate in the
community without the city/BID putting their hands in the shallow
pockets of the business owners who already give voluntarily.
You cannot make people believe in or want to participate in an
organization they don't want to be a part of or they don't think has any
merit. Whether you believe they should or not is not the issue here.
Why spend the city's monies debating the majority's wishes already
presented to the council to dis-establish the BID? To direct staff for a
lengthy study to show various options in terms of future structures
flies in the face of the request of the majority of business owners. The
only viable option is to eliminate the BID and transition to a
voluntary downtown association.
By all accounts from the BID president they have done all they can do
to educate the masses about the BID. They have sent letters, advertised
in the paper and on the radio, put on events, held meetings, etc. So
after doing all that and still the majority does not want it, I would
think that the message is clear: Dis-establish the Business Improvement
Cynthia Speakman owns Del Norte Travel in downtown Crescent City.