PROPOSAL FOR AN ENHANCED BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA

THE VISION

In 2010, over 100 District businesses, property owners, cultural and community groups, as well as residents met to talk about how to solve urgent needs in Chinatown-International District. Too many stores were empty, crime was on the rise, trash was left on the streets and graffiti seemed to be everywhere. All agreed that it was time to do something.

The effort resulted in a shared vision: A vibrant place where businesses thrive, residents feel safe and visitors go for one of the best ethnic experiences in America.

The group agreed that five things must be addressed in order to achieve this vision:

Public safety
Security patrols, tracking and reporting of all crime-related data, strong advocacy at City Hall for sustained public safety resources, oversight of public safety committee and training for properties and businesses

Clean streets and pedestrian environment
New enhanced street cleaning, daily litter pickup and graffiti removal, regular pressure-washing, implementation of the clear alley program with sustained alley maintenance

Marketing, events and promotions
Enhanced communications, more effective marketing materials and community events

Business development & retail recruitment
Retention and recruitment of small businesses for the Chinatown-International District, advocacy for better parking and transportation options

Building neighborhood organizational capacity
Business improvement efforts are sustainable and coordinated with community partners

PROGRESS ON THE VISION

The Chinatown-ID has made big strides toward achieving the vision. Here’s how:

A safe neighborhood for all
2011 • Added lighting in dark alleys
2012 • Neighborhood-wide security cameras
2012 • Secured grant to support public safety committee and block watch
2013 • Secured City dollars for expanded District police and social services

Clean and vibrant pedestrian realm
2011 • Contracted with CleanScapes/Recology for improved cleaning
2013 • Spring Clean, Paint-Out and E-Cycle drives
2013 • Secured permits for new sidewalk cafes neighborhood parklet
2013 • Translated street signs into other languages
2013 • Cleared dumpsters from the core alleys in Chinatown
2014 • Expanded Clear Alley Program to the entire commercial district

Marketing, events, and promotion
2011-14 • Doubled festival attendance since 2010
2011-15 • Promoted area restaurants through the $2 Food Walks
2011-15 • Provided hands-on marketing assistance for small businesses
2012-15 • Attracted visitors with new website and marketing materials
2014-15 • Hired new Marketing Director to manage events and promotions

Business development and retail recruitment
2012 • Developed program to recruit more retailers
2012 • Lowered the retail vacancy rate by 5%
2012 • Led the charge to get rid of paid street parking in the evening
2013 • Secured grant funding to rebuild façades
2014 • Secured grant funding to conduct a retail study and hire a retail recruiter

THE PROPOSAL

As champions for a vibrant Chinatown-International District, business and property owners, residents, and nonprofit organizations have supported the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area in it’s effort to improve the neighborhood since 1994.  A lot has happened in the last 20 years, and the needs of the district have grown and changed.  For the past four years community leaders have worked to develop a shared vision of the Chinatown-International District as a vibrant place where businesses can thrive, residents feel safe, and visitors come for one of the best and most authentic ethnic experiences in America.

To date, grants and sponsorship have paid for nearly 80 percent of this work. This source of money is temporary and cannot be relied on to keep funding needed services and fulfill the community’s vision. In 2015, the community is focusing on finding a way to create a more balanced and stable funding base.  To sustain these efforts of protecting this cultural asset, while building a stronger community, the CIDBIA must adjust the BIA property assessment to ensure that it is fair and in line with the District’s needs.  Doing so will help provide this coordinated neighborhood effort with the resources we need to achieve the community’s vision.  In turn, the CIDBIA will be better able to coordinate key activities, be accountable for getting things done, and make sure all voices are considered. Things like safe and clean services will be enhanced and held to a higher standard.

PROPOSED SERVICES & BUDGET

1. Public Safety Services
Make the Chinatown-International District Safe and Welcoming
•  New data tracking and monitoring of illegal and criminal activity trends in the District
•  Oversight of C-ID Public Safety Committee, and strong coordination with SPD to direct hot-spot patrolling
•  New partnership with CCI, DSA and SPD with focused human services and mental health outreach
•  Training and outreach to Businesses to promote crime prevention best practices (CPTED)

2. Cleaning Services & Pedestrian Environment
Expanded, comprehensive litter removal service, seven days a week (current service is four days a week)
•  New daily sweeping, litter and graffiti removal, alley cleaning, and biohazard removal
•  Weekly pressure washing of the entire district with increased cleaning in the afternoons and weekends
•  Full implementation and management of the City’s clear alley program
•  Ratepayer assistance for façade improvement, sidewalk cafés, and streetscape enhancements

3. Marketing & Communications Services
Promote and Market the Chinatown-International District
•  New communications campaign to generate earned media for District businesses, attractions and events
•  C-ID event and festival management and sponsorship development

4. Businesses Development and Retail Recruitment Services5. Management
Recruit and retain businesses and jobs in the Chinatown-International District
•  Economic and demographic data collection
•  Business retention & recruitment efforts
•  New retail recruitment program

5. Management
Excellent Program Management and Administration
•  Provide high-quality program administration and excellent customer service
•  Effectively develop and implement service-programs with regular evaluation and bench-marking
•  Provide financial and contract management services

 

Budget Summary by Program Proposed BIA Budget % Budget
Public Safety $155,000 27%
Sanitation & Ped. Environment $230,000 40%
Marketing & Communications $65,000 11%
Business Dev. & Retail Recruitment $40,000 7%
Management $85,000 15%

TOTAL     

$575,000 100%

 

Note:  These proposed C-ID services will not replace or duplicate any obligations of the City or other local governments.  Rather, the proposed services will help to fulfill the property owners’ responsibilities of graffiti removal and litter removal from sidewalks.  By combining investments through assessments, properties realize economies of scale in cleaning and security that they couldn’t otherwise achieve.