A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax or fee in order to fund improvements within the district’s boundaries. Grant funds acquired by the city for special programs and/or incentives such as tax abatements can be made available to assist businesses or to recruit new business. BIDs may go by other names, such as business improvement area (BIA), business revitalization zone (BRZ), community improvement district (CID), special services area (SSA), or special improvement district (SID).
This past week we saw the Provincial Government do away with funding for the Enterprize Regions of the province. Many had anticipated the non success of the regions from the very beginning. Lots of dollars into wages and facilities, little dollars to assist small business directly and lets not forget the dollars spent on studies, surveys and conferences that most small business operators and owners simply did not have time to attend.
The idea behind BIDS is simple, allocate funds from both the public and private sector to do things to improve a defined district in a community. The idea is simple, and growing across the province. With at least 4 BIDS in Saskatoon, 2 in Regina, 1 in Prince Albert and 1 in Yorkton, the numbers will officially grow by 1 more in Humboldt later this month. Even small communities with as small a population are looking at BIDs for their community.
With the assistance of the Yorkton BID, Humboldt has been working hard to establish and focus their own BID, in some respects a model of the Yorkton BID, which we can say has been identified provincially, as very successful.
Going back to the beginning it was the YBID who pushed to get the Liquor Store in the Downtown area. Because it was and is a destination point. Not everyone liked the idea of the move but in the end it happened, as did the City Centre Park next door, New Street Lights ( which the YBID pays 100,000 a year to the city for) park benches, garbage containers, sidewalk cleaners, the Old Mill Park, Sask Tel Pioneers Park on Betts with more to come.
The YBID and other BIDS focus on getting things done with PARTNERSHIPS from within the community. Almost every thing we have done as a YBID, has a Partner or Partners attached to it. That speaks well of our community.
Be advised, that not just our YBID is doing this, but many other BIDs in Saskatchewan as well as the rest of North America are working towards the needs of their district. Some do sidewalk sales, some look after parking, many, like Yorkton BID focus on improvements to make the district a great place to have a business, to hold events, and to assist their council in growth.
The YBID and BIDs in general have done a lot, but they can do more because their ideas come from their members, and members in BIDs are local people operating and owning local business and that is what makes Yorkton A great place to do business!