The NoMa BID is Badass, I Want One

When I was walking around 1st St, NE (where the new Harris Teeter is going in) I noticed a couple of BID (Business Improvement District) workers sporting some sweet sweatshirts cleaning some streets and I was like man, this a badass BID. Then a block away I saw the truck pictured above and I was like this is a seriously badass BID. Their Web site says:

“Located just north of Capitol Hill and Union Station, the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) was created by the District of Columbia City Council and approved by the Mayor in March 2007. The BID supports the emergence of NoMa as one of the District’s most exciting mixed-use neighborhoods. Through a special assessment collected from property owners in a 35-block area, the BID is helping to make NoMa safe, clean, and attractive for businesses, residents, and visitors. Its main tasks include:

• Providing cleaning and safety services
• Promoting NoMa through marketing and community events
• Coordinating public and private investments and services
• Enhancing the community by promoting employment and community projects with NoMa neighbors.

The BID is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of nine property and business owners. The BID’s FY2008 budget is approximately $1.3 million and is funded by an assessment that applies to commercial property (including land and parking lots), residences of ten or more units, and hotels.”

Holy cow a $1.3 million budget. No wonder they are so badass. Who else has BIDs? Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Downtown. Does U Street have one? And the real question that has popped into my head is – why doesn’t Georgia Avenue have a BID?

31 Comment

  • Hopefully Gray continues making progress in the improvement of DC. Given that GA Ave Corridor has a large “forgotten black” population and has vast potential it should be near the top of Gray’s list. I’m still skeptical of him though.

    • It has nothing to do with the mayor. BIDs are self organized, self assessed groups. If area business owners want them, they need to work with their councilperson to get them – but the city doesn’t make that decision for them.

      • Well pardon me it I was wrong but I was drawing from the fact that the post says it was created by City Council and approved by the Mayor.

        But that would explain the lack of BIDs on GA Ave as most of the older business owners are perfectly happy with the stat quo.

  • Adams Morgan
    Capitol Hill
    Golden Triangle
    Capitol Riverfront
    Mount Vernon Triangle

    GA doesn’t have one b/c they haven’t organized to do so. Your local business owners and councilperson need to decide that they want a BID (and want to assess themselves an additional tax). U Street does not have one either.

    The Capitol Hill BID is awesome. Obviously I’m biased (not just because it’s my neighborhood, but because I work with them), but I love our “Men in Blue” and the Ready, Willing and Working program.

  • Georgetown has a pretty decent BID – I mean they had their own bus route (Blue Bus) but it just got swallowed-up by Ddot/Circulator (hooray!).

  • +1, I pay taxes for the Mt. Vernon Triangle BID, thats how they get their money.

  • I work on Capitol Hill and agree their BID is awesome. Clean streets make the whole neighborhood look good. Too bad I live in CH and there’s gum all over the sidewalks and overflowing trash cans on the corners.

    • Yes, the gum all over the new pavers is really sad. I think part of it is attitude-related. If people see trash on the ground, they will be more likely to add some of their own (not everybody, I know). If the place is pristine, people litter less. So if my observation is correct, maybe a BID serves double duty by cleaning up the mess and preventing new ones. Just a thought. We probably need more businesses in CH a BID could be established, eh?

  • Come on folks, the GA Ave Bid are the dufflebagboys who bring in the cocaine and guns/ammo! and the ladies near Kennedy who sell crack. What a lame city to tolerate such on-going open-air illegal and violent behavior week after week. I wonder how many will be shot this coming Saturday night by the kids on the block. Forgotten my ass! They run the town.

  • Somebody would shoot them on Georgia Ave.

  • This is PRECISELY why brick and mortar restaurants, shops etc have such a problem with the DC food trucks who love to come into the neighborhood…one where its nicely landscaped, lots of pedestrian amenities like benches and fountains and set up shop. Then at the end of the day, when they’ve sucked all the biz from the locals who pay to clean up all the street trash the food truck has created by its sales, they pack up and go home.

    This bid operates under nine businesses with a budget of 1.3 mil. I know they aren’t all paying equal amounts but “generically” thats an additional $144k a year in taxes the food trucks don’t pay. Add that on top of the fact that food trucks don’t report the standard 10% sales tax and you see why the playing field between brick and mortars and food trucks is so uneven, and why they get so pissed.

  • Columbia Heights is in sore need of regular street clean-up. Some mornings it looks like a tornado of trash moved through 14th.

    • I saw someone throw a whole McD’s bag of trash out of a car window at the 14th and Park stoplight the other day.

  • I hope GA Ave gets a BID, that’s what they need to clean up the bad behavior on that street.

  • Georgia Ave is part of the Great Streets Program which can work to improve streetscapes and attract development. Also, Kennedy Street is part of the DC Main Street program to help local businesses. Vinegar Hill South Main Street includes Kennedy and Georgia and could someday become a BID. The Columbia Heights Shaw Family Support Collaborative operates a “Green Team” on Kennedy, similar to the neighborhood ambassadors of a BID.,a,1366,q,598874,dmpedNav,%7C33026%7C%7C33028%7C.asp

  • A GA Ave BID! You crack me up, PoPs. Maybe HU will throw in $10 because they’re so neighborly. Maybe those combination locks stuck to the chain link fence can pool their resources.

  • If you’re a carry-out place or a five-and-dime shop on kennedy st or upper GA ave what’s your motivation to start up a BID? Isn’t that ultimately just going to raise your rents and price you out of the neighborhood?

  • Sad, but true. We just don’t have many businesses that would likely be interested in forming/supporting a BID, for the reasons you mention (though it’d be great if they’d prove us wrong). Maybe this will change in the future. I just found the Vinegar Hill South Main Street program’s Facebook and website through the comment above; I wasn’t aware of their existence before.

  • Hmmm, I don’t know. I mean, if all the fund$ from these BID$ went into the plain ‘ol vanilla dept of public works, police, and other public services, wouldn’t our city do better overall? With all these multiple BID brands, uniforms, trucks, and I’m sure leadership, it would appear to add up to a lot of wa$ted re$ource$! Also, look at the names for the current BIDs – none of them are streets. I recall reading recently that GA Ave is the longest street in DC. A GA Ave BID would run almost the entire NW! If BIDs are the way to bring change, better to organize it/them around neighborhoods, not streets. But then, back to point #1 – is this the best and most equitable way to $pend our tax dollar$?

    • Correct that one BID couldn’t possibly cover all of Georgia Avenue. They’d have to be separated by section (Upper/Middle/Lower Georgia Avenue) or by neighborhood (Shepherd Park, Brightwood, Petworth, Park View, Pleasant Plains).

    • Pleasant Plainer, you must have missed the earlier explanation. The BIDS are not funded from the general revenue acct, this is a self imposed fee from businesses in the area. I.E these areas agreed to levy an additional fee on themselves to fund the efforts. If anything, this is efficient.

    • DC Home Inspector has it right. These aren’t YOUR tax dollars, unless you’re a business owner. They elect to assess themselves an additional tax to fund the BID – you as a resident of one of these areas (or a shopper, visitor etc.) simply reap the benefits. Also, the taxes raised by each BID stay within that BID – the money isn’t pooled with all the other BIDS, or with other general fund money.

    • If I remember correctly many of these BIDs were born of the ashes of the mid to late 90s, when city services were utterly dysfunctional due to the Barry years. The businesses downtown got together and found ways to get basic services provided despite the absence of government. Later on some federal tax laws were rewritten and they could basically deduct their BID payments from other taxes, and the concept gained steam. Now you’ll hear some grumbles from the businesses on how they’re double taxed for things like clean up, as they pay for that themselves.

      There was also citizens groups that tried to do the same thing. I spent two years in the late 90’s with a group of residents along MacArthur Boulevard trying to figure out how to get our trash picked up on a regular basis. We were successful in getting more attention from the city and didn’t ultimately have to contract-out the pick up ourselves.

  • Columbia Heights could really, really use a bid for litter pickup, graffiti removal, etc, and Target and the stores in DCUSA, Giant, Kenyon Square etc may be a dense enough concentration of retail to support such a BID.

  • Why can’t we have squads of juvenile delinquents and minor offenders (community service etc.) cleaning up the streets every day? It’s not like there is a shortage.

  • The BIDs would be funded by additional property taxes on the businesses on the street. There aren’t that many, and those that are there don’t seem to have extra money kicking around. Also, Howard University doesn’t pay real estate taxes, so there’s a whole half of the block that would be benefiting without kicking in.

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