What kind of downtown Delta do you want? That’s the question being posed by a downtown revitalization committee which is proposing a Business Improvement District (BID) to fund streetscapes, facade improvements, events and more.
The question is generating a lot of interest, as indicated by the attendance at two informational meetings held last week. The meetings were chaired by Jay Stooksberry, “wearer of many hats,” one of which includes an interest in CB’s Tavern. CB’s is one of the businesses that would be assessed through the BID. Stooksberry is also a member of the community revitalization committee that is spearheading the effort to establish the BID.
Stooksberry explained the effort has gained momentum with the approaching completion of the alternate truck route. That project will not only affect traffic through the downtown area, the long-term debt associated with the project will affect the city’s ability to fund capital improvements citywide.
A Business Improvement District, Stooksberry explained, is “a private-sector solution driven by the private sector.” While partnerships with the chamber of commerce and the City of Delta are vital, participating businesses will be the decision makers. In fact, without support from those businesses, the BID will not get off the ground. Over 50 percent of the commercial entities within the BID boundaries must sign off on the proposal. Stooksberry said he’s hoping for more of a “mandate.” Above 60 percent would be ideal, he said, and would show people are invested in the concept.
Maps were displayed with the district boundaries, which run along Main Street from Maverik on the north to Hellman Chevrolet on the south. The boundaries extend a short distance along Highway 92 east, as well as east and west of Main Street to side streets where clusters of commercial activity can be found. There are approximately 120 parcels in the district.
Assessments will be made on both real and personal property, and will range from $300 to $1,500 annually. The proposed district boundaries and the assessment schedule can be found on yourdowntowndelta.org.
The funds generated through assessments, estimated at $113,500 annually, can be leveraged for grants, Stooksberry said.
“In the grand scheme of things, it won’t be that much of an investment,” Stooksberry said. And it’s an investment that can pay off, if more people are drawn to the downtown area.
The goal of the Aug. 7 meetings was to assess interest. The next step, Stooksberry said, is to circulate the petitions that will facilitate formation of the BID. There is no timeline for that process, he added. “The key thing is to gauge if this is something we should even continue with, because it’s worthless without your support,” he said.
One of Delta’s newest businessmen, Scott Beyer, said a Business Improvement District is a good way to go. The owner of Scott’s Printing in Montrose, he recently bought Main Street Printers in Delta. “Montrose has been relatively successful with a Downtown Business Authority, which is a different model,” he said. “The advantage to a Business Improvement District is the government doesn’t control it, the people control it.”
The community revitalization committee will continue to seek feedback and buy-in before launching the petition process.