WASHINGTON POST: How a business improvement district helps

Friday, July 21, 2017

By DowntownDC

When you see those nearly ubiquitous business improvement district banners affixed to lightpoles in retail areas throughout the Washington area, you may think the BIDs are merely serving a public relations function for the shops and eateries there.

BIDs do more than that — they perform particular services that local governments may be unable or unwilling to provide, usually because of inadequate annual budgets. Thus, jurisdictions often rely on BIDs.

Yet many residents know little about BIDs: how and why they exist, how they are funded, where they are situated and what improvements they effectuate.

The District has several BIDs, as do Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland jurisdictions. Hundreds of BIDs operate in cities, towns and counties throughout the United States. New York City has 74 BIDs.

What is the purpose of a BID?

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