Support the BID
July 31, 2009 9:41 AM
For the last 10 years, Madison has had a Business Improvement District downtown. Businesses within the district are assessed in order to provide specific services within the BID area.
The BID does a lot of things for the downtown. It helps promote the area by supporting events like Maxwell Street Days, Cars on State and the Downtown Madison Holiday Open House. It produces the Downtown Madison Gift Certificate Program and the Downtown Madison Map and Guide. It does a tremendous job of fostering a welcoming environment downtown through its Information Ambassador Program - which helped nearly 28,000 downtown customers in 2008 alone - and enhancements to the area's physical environment, dressing the downtown with flowers during the warmer months and holiday lights during our colder months.
The BID staff have been very effective and helpful advocating matters of importance to the City. They've been a trusted partner during the various road construction projects undertaken downtown in the last 10 years and have helped usher positive changes, like the transformation of Madison's Halloween event.
Every 5 years, the BID needs to be renewed by a vote of those in the district who pay into the fund. That vote happens today, and I hope the BID will be renewed. In fact, our new city economic development plan calls for the creation of more BIDS in business districts across the city. It's not something the city can impose from the outside - local businesses need to come together on their own to make it happen. But it would be a powerful thing for locally owned small businesses in some of Madison's most revered small business districts if those businesses would form their own BIDS. It would create the resources for the events, the projects and the creative marketing that would contribute to the success of those businesses and the vibrance of those local retail areas.