What is a Business Improvement District?
North Park Main Street wears two hats. It is a business improvement district established by the City of San Diego, and a Main Street program affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
A Business Improvement District is a defined area within which businesses pay an assessment. The assessments are collected by the City through the business license tax and then reimbursed to fund an organization that promotes and advocates for the businesses within the district. A BID creates pedestrian and streetscape projects, organizes events to market the area and improve the economy,
and acts as a collaborator on small business policy with legislators from the city, state and national level. The North Park Business Improvement District (BID) was formed in 1985 which was the second BID formed in the San Diego area, after the Gaslamp District. The BID boundaries center around two primary corridors – University Blvd and 30th Street. The original boundaries were expanded in 2008 and currently encompass University Avenue from Boundary Street to Florida Street, and 30th Street from Howard to Redwood. File – (See BID Map). The North Park Main Street has approximately 600 members – businesses located within the BID district. Funding for the North Park Main Street program is generated from assessments collected from the businesses, City and County of San Diego grants, special events, and sponsorships.
What is a Main Street?
North Park Main Street (NPMS) was established in 1996 when the City of San Diego selected the North Park BID to be the pilot project for the national Main Street program in the San Diego area. NPMS is part of a coast-to-coast movement overseen by the National Trust for Historic Preservation which promotes the revitalization of historic commercial districts and supports their small, independently-owned businesses. The national Main Street program advocates a philosophy of local empowerment and the preservation of unique assets including distinctive architecture and pedestrian-oriented environments. The program uses a four points approach which incorporates the creation of a volunteer Board of Directors composed of local business owners, plus four volunteer-based committees which focus on : 1) Design (land use planning & architecture) ; 2) Economic Restructuring (business support and recruitment); 3) Organization (goal setting & volunteer coordination); and 4) Promotion (marketing & PR). More than 50 local volunteers with a passion for the North Park community are actively engaged with NPMS.
What does a BID do?
- Outreach to new and existing businesses to provide assistance with marketing their business
- Inform businesses of opportunities and programs designed to assist them
- Provide information to businesses on capital improvement projects that may impact their business
- Relay information to legislators who are looking to create small business policy
- Communicate with developers who are working on projects in North Park
- Seek out developers for properties in need of development
- Hosting North Park events such as the Taste of North Park, the North Park Festival of Arts, as well as the weekly North Park Farmers’ Market and other events designed to promote a variety of businesses in the area
- Marketing through social media created to promote North Park as a destination
- Actively supporting North Park Art, Culture and Entertainment District through funding to art projects
- Acting as liaison between community, City Department and municipalities
- Assisting developers, business owners and tenants navigate regulatory requirements and access available resources
- Installing improvements, e.g. lighting, street trees, bike racks, refuse cans
- Coordinating efforts to address downtown transportation and parking issues
- Promoting preservation of business community’s historic character
- Attending all community meetings where NPMS is the voice of the small business community
- Advocating for policy that supports small business
- Attending City Council meetings and meeting with elected officials to speak up for the interest of small business
- Act as a liaison with city, county and state regulatory systems to assist with permitting processes for small business
- Promoting urban village style planning principles and ensuring quality development through advocacy on the community plans and zoning changes
- Actively pursuing funding for projects through grants, sponsorships and donations