Is 2021 the year for Watertown’s Business Improvement District?

Is 2021 the year for Watertown’s Business Improvement District?

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - On Wednesday, the Watertown Downtown Business Association held a virtual town hall to further discuss the Business Improvement District or BID.

Creating a BID is a way of improving downtown by collecting money from business and property owners. That money would be used in different areas, like beautification and marketing, with the ultimate goal of attracting more people to the area.

DBA President Joe Wessner discussed more about the plan during a presentation.

“It was part of the DRI [Downtown Revitalization Initiative] plan. It’s in the comprehensive plan for the city and it’s been an idea that has been around for quite a while,” said Wessner.

In the beginning stages, Wessner said the preliminary budget would be about $100,000, but that number has almost doubled to $194,000,

“One of things that we wanted to do was to make sure that it was funded properly so that we could do things in the district. You know, so we can put on events and things like that,” said Wessner.

Lori Gervera was a meeting participant who owns a real estate company headquartered downtown. She says the BID would be beneficial.

“To me, the goal is getting our downtown so that it is a place that we are proud of. So it’s a place that people will bring their families too, it’s a destination,” said Gervera.

Other downtown business owners say they are still unsure about how the BID will work and how it can be a benefit moving forward.

Wessner says the DBA will continue to have more question and answer forums this year to hopefully clear up any confusion. He says he will also be reaching out to businesses directly over the next 4 weeks to continue to gauge interest.

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