I've heard that Rob Mohn and the CCBA are circulating a petition to CC business owners, asking that they sign on to form a Columbia City Business Improvement Area. Other neighborhoods like the International District, Cap Hill, and the U District already have their own BIAs.
According to Seattle.gov, "A BIA provides a source to fund improvements in neighborhood business districts by assessing property and/or business owners who benefit from the improvements."
The proposed CCBIA would have a $50,000 annual budget:
- $30k for "Keeping District clean and well maintained"
- $15k for "Keeping District safe"
- $5k for "BIA administration"
If enough businesses sign on to meet 60% of the total budget, the city council will officially set up the BIA. Based on square footage and property value, a monthly fee will be assessed for each business and collected by the city.
From my perspective as a Columbia Citizen, the most interesting question about this is the $15,000 allocated for keeping the district safe. No details at all are given in the CCBIA brochure about how this money would be used. I would guess that CC businesses would be similarly curious.
Here's what the ID's BIA website has to say about their public safety initiatives:
"Our public safety program works in conjunction with other key organizations to promote awareness among neighborhood businesses, property owners, residents, employees and patrons. Lighting projects, CCTV security cameras, daily security patrols, and consistent communication with the Seattle Police Department are key elements to the success of the program."
So what the dilly? Are we talking cameras, security guards, wolverines loosed upon the streets by night?
The aims of the proposed CCBIA sound appealing to me, but the lack of detail about public safety initiatives is making me squirm some. Anybody have experience with BIAs or opinions about them? Have they been unmitigated successes in other neighborhoods?