Main Street Square will not become a reality without voter approval of the Downtown Business Improvement District. Funds from the district are needed to help cover the annual operating costs of the venue. The petition process that gained support to hold a city-wide election on June 29 will now give Rapid City citizens an opportunity to show support for Main Street Square and development in the heart of our city. With zero additional cost to Rapid City citizens, voting in favor of the BID will provide an amazing downtown event venue to be enjoyed by generations to come.
The Business Improvement District will receive approximately $174,000 a year from assessments of downtown property owners. This averages to 342 properties paying $34.25 per month. The assessment initially will fund operation of the proposed Main Street Square on the corner of Sixth and Main streets, and will provide funding for future downtown projects.
Main Street Square will allow public and private organizations to bring a huge variety of events to the city center. Downtown events not only provide a great atmosphere for the attendees, but they also have an outstanding economic impact on the surrounding shops and restaurants.
The exposure that Summer Nights has given our downtown businesses each Thursday night during the summer has been incredible. The addition of many more events will assure future prosperity of the area.
The creation of a downtown business improvement district was unanimously approved by City Council after a large majority of downtown property owners advocated to self-impose the assessments and create the district. Downtown business improvement districts have been created in communities throughout our nation to help fund major improvement projects and operate similar programs. These districts provide a structured way for property owners to join forces to support services downtown, to market downtown as a collective destination and to compete with other commercial centers.
As strip malls and outdoor shopping centers in outlying areas continue to pop up and draw people to the city's edges, downtown needs an extra boost to remain beautiful, modern and local-business-minded, while preserving its historic character.
As a public-private partnership, Main Street Square's $6.5 million construction cost is being supported by the city and local businesses.
A request has been made for $3.5 million from the city's Vision 2012 funds. The remaining $3 million will be funded with private sector donations that already have been raised. Private donors also have agreed to fund any Main Street Square costs that might exceed the improvement district's assessment funds, thereby ensuring no burden falls on the city or taxpayers.
Main Street Square will be an all-year venue, designed to invite warm weather events from small weddings to large music festivals and winter use with an ice-skating rink. Please mark your calendars for June 29. We are counting on Rapid City's citizens to vote in favor of the enhancement of downtown, in favor of community events downtown and in favor of the creation of the Downtown Business Improvement District.
Dan Senftner is president and CEO of Destination Rapid City, founded in 2008 to organize downtown revitalization. He can be reached at 605-716-7979 or at www.downtownrapidcity.com.