Though the Durango Business Improvement District has been serving the community since 1997, I still meet people who look at me quizzically when I mention my job, and ask, “BID, what is that?”
Thousands of BIDs exist nationwide. These quasi-governmental entities have taxing authority to generate funds for their districts. How a BID spends its dollars takes a variety of forms depending on community needs and money generated by the mill levy agreed upon by constituents.
In some districts, property owners have voted in mill levies upward of 5 or 7 mills (even as high as 17), which, in turn, translates into millions of dollars. Durango’s BID is funded currently by a 2.0 mill levy, which generates an estimated $250,000. We augment this with additional money produced by events and other sources, resulting in a total budget of $340,000. Given the tight budget, the Durango BID must be fiscally responsible.
We were launched to explore development of a conference center, but today, the Durango BID’s efforts are broad. They are designed to raise the proverbial tide and float all boats, helping to sustain the economic vitality of this special district that includes the historic downtown, as well as commercial properties stretching all along North Main Avenue.
While every BID is unique, we are all entrepreneurial and creative in solving problems. For Durango, one visible example has been effectively “partnering” with other entities on projects of mutual interest. This “leveraging” includes the partnership of the BID, city of Durango, Fort Lewis College and the Durango Area Tourism Office for creation and on-going support of the successful Durango Welcome Center at Eighth and Main.
BID also produces complimentary visitor maps and the physical directories on Main, plus we work to improve the community and business climate through advocacy, and help give our merchants a voice through our BID Coffee & Conversation held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. every second Friday of the month.
Additional efforts helping drive tourism include grants totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for marketing local events outside of the area, coordination with the city to purchase infrastructure items for events (i.e. the stage, sound system, tents and more), as well as focusing on communications – keeping everyone as informed as we can. One of our most effective tools is the BID E-News. It’s a weekly quick-read. Sign up at DowntownDurango.org/newsletter.
All of this is why you may see BID Community Relations Coordinator Pam Glasco and I all over town – we’re busy.
And going back to that question, “What is BID?” – we have recently produced an informational brochure, which could be considered “Durango BID at-a-glance.” Now, when people inquire, I have a concise response. If you’d like a copy, let me know or drop by the office at 850½ Main Ave., Suite 2. We love to brag about BID.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim Walsworth is executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District.