Why ROC: Business Improvement District

- The benefits of a Business Improvement District in downtown Rochester was the subject our Why ROC interview Wednesday on News 8 at Sunrise.

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, President of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation and the Executive Director of Downtown Special Services, Inc. said a Business Improvement District, or BID, would be perfect for downtown Rochester.

Zimmer-Meyer described a BID as defined territory with property owners agreeing to self-assess and pool their funds.  Owners would align and decide how much they want to raise and how to spend the funds.  Zimmer-Meyer said it would have a clear benefit in downtown Rochester, improving the living, working and entertainment environments.

There are currently more than 1,200 BIDs across the U.S.  When well-run BIDs are put in place, Zimmer-Meyer said cities report property values in the BID area rise and commercial and residential leasing is more successful.  Many create street events that add vitality and improve the perception of safety in their downtowns.

Zimmer-Meyer said a BID is not going to fix Rochester's poverty problems or solve low gradation rates.  What it will do is improve the value and viability of the center of the city.  With $656 million in investment in the pipeline, including 15 housing developments, she argues this is a necessary step.

The BID idea will go before property owners in the fall.  Zimmer-Meyer said if all goes well, she could see a BID opening its doors in downtown Rochester by the summer of 2015.

For more information about the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, click here.

For more information about the Greater Rochester Enterprise, click here.

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