Businesses and property owners in the Downtown area and along Anaheim Street will continue to receive infrastructure maintenance, security and other forms of support for years to come following the renewal of their respective business improvement districts by the City Council on Tuesday night.
The Downtown Long Beach Alliance and Midtown PBIDs were both renewed for a period of 10 years following two unanimous votes by the City Council during its most recent meeting. Councilmember Cindy Allen recused herself from the Downtown vote because she owns two properties located within the BID’s boundaries.
The BIDs receive their funding through property assessments, which means renewals must be approved first through a vote of property owners in the area. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Midtown BID—which spans Anaheim Street from Raymond to Alamitos avenues—was not renewed last year, the end of its initial five-year contract, due to a lack of support from owners who were losing money.
But the various services the BID provides such as street cleanups, sidewalk power washing and security are set to return with the new contract that spans Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2032.
“Midtown PBID has been pivotal in building economic development in the neighborhood by providing a clean and safe neighborhood for businesses and residents,” BID President Susana Sngiem said during the council meeting. Throughout the pandemic, the organization provided over $72,000 in direct grants to the area’s small businesses, she added.
The BID distributed 61 ballots to property owners along the corridor. Of those, 22 valid ballots were counted, according to city staff, and 58.89% were in favor of renewing the BID.
The property assessment will generate $159,000 in revenue for the Midtown BID during the first year, according to a staff report. City-owned properties would account for $22,500 of the assessment next year, which is not currently budgeted.
The DLBA, meanwhile, has served Downtown businesses and residents since 1998, and yesterday’s renewal included an expansion of its boundaries.
The northern boundary along Pacific Avenue will be extended from Sixth to Eighth street to match the boundary on Pine Avenue. South of Ocean Boulevard, the boundary is expanding to encompass the waterfront south of Shoreline Drive. The new southern boundary will include the sidewalks along the Convention Center on Pine Avenue and much of the Rainbow Harbor area—stretching from the roundabout near the Aquarium of the Pacific along the waterfront to Shoreline Village, which is not included in the update.
The BID renewal garnered more support from property owners than the Midtown BID. The organization disseminated 3,245 ballots and, of the 877 valid returns, 78.83% were in favor of renewal.
As part of the renewal, assessment fees are set to increase an average of 34.5%. With the increase and additional properties, the assessment will generate more than $3.78 million in revenue for the organizations, according to a staff report.
The city’s portion of the assessment for fiscal year 2023 is $785,156, according to city documents, an increase of almost $181,000 due in large part to the inclusion of the Convention Center frontage. Of the total, $220,484 will be paid by Site Centers, which manages the Pike Outlets property.
The remainder of the assessment will be paid by various city departments, according to a staff report.
“Specific impacts at the department level are under review,” the report reads.
There was no public comment against the DLBA renewal, but numerous business owners turned out to voice their support for the council item. The speakers praised the Clean and Safe teams, which patrol the area cleaning the sidewalks and offering assistance to residents and visitors alike.
John Tully, CEO of Pedal Movement, which manages the city’s active transportation program, including its bikeshare, said his First Street facility has been broken into about six times in the past two years. Rather than having to eat the cost for repairs, Tully said the DLBA was able to provide grant funding.
Denise Carter, who said she has lived in the Downtown area for more than 20 years and is a DLBA member, said events such as Taste of Downtown connected locals from across the city with the area’s businesses and keep the neighborhood vibrant.
For the last 15 years, Allison Kripp has owned and operated The Den Salon in Downtown. During public comment, Kripp, who also works for the city’s Homeless Services, said that, among other things, she values the DLBA working with the city to provide outreach and services to unhoused residents in the area.
“From Day One, we had the ultimate support of the BID,” Kripp said of owning a business Downtown. “We have not looked back—they have been there through thick and thin.”