David Arista thinks there’s something special about downtown Edmonds, and he wants to keep it that way.
Arista, owner of on Fifth Avenue South, is chairman of a committee working to establish a Business Improvement District (BID). Arista said he’s collected more than half of the signatures needed before Edmonds City Council can create a BID. Arista hopes to make a presentation to the council by January, who could then approve an ordinance creating the BID.
Arista says BIDs are designed to aid general economic development and to foster merchant and general business cooperation. A BID lets businesses within a defined area to establish a special assessment district.
“Signing the petition to create a downtown BID has been an easy choice for most people,” Arista said. “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.”
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 the area bordered by Bell Street on the north, Durbin Street on the east, Homeland Drive on the south and Railroad Avenue North on the west.
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,” said Arista. “Funds could also go to insure that downtown Edmonds is safe, clean, well maintained, and with lots of parking. All these items are important for recruiting and maintaining businesses and their employees.”
Thousands of BIDs are in existence around the country and the world—several in Seattle neighborhoods including West Seattle, downtown Seattle and the International District.
Arista said that if the BID is established, an advisory board made up BID endorsees would be elected to guide the BID program, set yearly budgets and make decisions on how the funds are spent.
“Though funds from the BID cannot go to promoting one business specifically, marketing is one desired focus of the collected funds,” he said. “We would market the downtown Edmonds BID as a place to shop, eat, seek professional services, recreate, live, or even as a place to open a new business. Through this marketing effort traffic within the BID would increase and individual businesses would then benefit. Right now there is no organization that specifically promotes downtown Edmonds and there is so much competition from other cities to capture sales dollars.”
Arista added that service and professional businesses within the BID would also benefit from increased traffic and exposure. “These same businesses would also benefit from being located in a thriving and vibrant community where their employees enjoy the area in which they work.”
More information about the Edmonds Business Improvement District can be found on its website, which including a map and a list of businesses supporting the petition.