City subcommittee approves Roosevelt Row Business Improvement District

For the Roosevelt BID article. (Amanda LaCasse/DD)
A Phoenix City Council subcommittee approved the creation of a Business Improvement District north of Fillmore Street. The city now looks for community feedback as they finalize plans. (Amanda LaCasse/DD)

A plan allowing property owners to pursue services such as cleaning and landscape improvement along Roosevelt Row was approved by a Phoenix City Council subcommittee and could pave the way for increased investment and development in the area.

Representatives from the city and community convened at a Downtown, Aviation and Redevelopment Subcommittee meeting on Wednesday to discuss their proposal for the creation of a Business Improvement District in the Roosevelt Row and Evans Churchill community.

The tentative boundaries for the district are the approximately 300 acres between Seventh Street, Interstate 10, Seventh Avenue and Fillmore Street, said David Krietor, president and CEO of Downtown Phoenix Inc, an umbrella organization for several downtown improvement groups. A few of the services the district will provide are landscape improvement, parking coordination, event management, business recruitment, marketing and branding strategies, better signage and the introduction of ambassadors and a cleaning team.

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“This is a community-driven, small-property-owner-driven process that I do think has implications for other parts of the city,” Krietor said.

Downtown Phoenix Partnership, one of the five organizations under Downtown Phoenix Inc., already has a similar structure with the Business Improvement District that comprises the area of Seventh Street to Third Avenue, and Fillmore Street to the Union Pacific tracks south of Jackson Street.

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According to a City Council report, downtown community groups initially proposed the possibility of forming a Business Improvement District in February 2014. Last year, Downtown Phoenix Inc. conducted research and conversed with community stakeholders, ultimately taking part in 23 meetings with approximately 290 people in order to determine the level of support from the community.

“This effort today really does build on decades of volunteer effort by hundreds of people in the community working together and trying to advance the future of this community,” said Greg Esser, vice president of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation board. “This really represents a critical piece of creating a sustainable way to ensure the importance of the arts in this area and the character of the area in moving forward.”

The annual budget for the district will be roughly $500,000. Property owners in the community mainly fund this budget, but Scott Sumners, deputy director of community development, said the city of Phoenix may choose to contribute to the project as well.

“We are right now in the process of understanding exactly what our contribution would be, working with the respective departments that are responsible for these parcels and understanding the services that we would get, just like any other property owner out there,” Sumners said.

Krietor said the next steps would include finalizing the boundaries, budget and services provided by the Business Improvement District and more extensively reaching out to people in the community to assess their concerns and ensure their approval.

“This next part will be really interesting because we’ll be seeing what people want to pay for, what they get, and having that conversation,” said Kevin Rille, president of the Evans Churchill Community Association. “The plan, I think, is to come back with a list of people saying they’re in. We’re not just trying to get the bare minimum of 51 percent, but make sure there’s a broad consensus of what’s going to happen and how it’s going to work.”

The proposal was unanimously approved by the subcommittee and each official expressed interest in seeing the development of the district.

“I think it will work as a showcase in an area that has worked very hard for many years, and not only the effort but the success of the efforts are very obvious,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams. “I’m very supportive of this project.”

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