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Alexandria City Manager Recommends Ending Consideration of Old Town Business Improvement District

Old Town Alexandria Business Owners Divided and Jinks says, “Now is not the Time”

Mark Jinks says it is not the job of government to advocate and push the proposal through if businesses are not overwhelmingly in favor of the BID. (Courtesy photo)

Based on feedback from members of the BID Exploratory Committee, has recommended that City Council no longer further consider a proposed Old Town Business Improvement District (BID) at this time. This action follows City Council’s request in June for a specific services plan and budget and a formal vote by businesses and commercial property owners.

In a memorandum to City Council, Jinks noted that those involved in the development of the BID proposal through the BID Exploratory Committee have met and concluded that they cannot  contribute the additional time and energy needed to garner sufficient support for the proposal.

Businesses in Old Town have been strongly divided on the proposal for a Business Improvement District. (Courtesy photo)

“Successful BIDs almost always originate from the business community itself,” said Jinks. “While government can be supportive of a BID, it is not appropriate for a government to lead a BID effort. With active leadership for a BID no longer evident, I do not believe we have this critical component for the successful creation of a BID, and do not recommend a BID be further pursued at this time. I continue to believe an Old Town BID would have a positive impact on businesses, property owners and the residents of both Old Town and Alexandria at large, but now is not the time.”

A BID is an area of a locality where a nonprofit economic development organization delivers additional services to supplement those provided by local government. BIDs usually focus on promoting commercial neighborhoods through branding, signage and marketing; activating public spaces and holding events; enhancing streetscapes and transportation amenities; and making other improvements. Most revenue for BID services comes from an add-on real estate tax paid by commercial property owners in the district, in addition to sources such as grants and events.

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