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The goal of the Norfolk Downtown Management Plan is to identify community priorities for improving Downtown, including the dynamics of Downtown Norfolk’s economy, environment, and experience. In order to ensure community priorities can be implemented, the Downtown Management Plan will evaluate what funding and management tools are best equipped to meet the unique needs of Downtown Norfolk. This Plan will also explore the feasibility of a business improvement district (BID) for Downtown Norfolk, and will identify program priorities for the BID if this option is determined to be feasible.
What is a Business Improvement District?
A business improvement district (BID) is a public/private tool used by communities to manage and improve the physical and economic environment and competitiveness of a defined area, most commonly a business district or downtown. BIDs are funded through a self-imposed and self-governed assessment on property that is paid by property owners annually. Services funded through a BID are intended to enhance, not replace, existing city services. Examples of services provided by BIDs are cleaning, maintenance of existing public spaces like sidewalks, community events and activities, marketing, physical improvements like lighting, landscaping, benches, trash receptacles, and signage, and support for small businesses. BIDs are a tool used by many Nebraska communities, including Hastings, Fremont, Grand Island, Lincoln, and Omaha.
What will the project process include?
The Norfolk Downtown Management Plan will consist of two steps. The first step is identifying improvements for Downtown and determining the feasibility of a BID. Tasks will include a review of past plans and studies, fieldwork to evaluate Downtown improvement needs, engagement with Downtown stakeholders and the community at-large, and a review of best practices from comparable communities. The Plan will include parameters for a potential BID, including the proposed BID’s rationale and objectives, boundaries, service plan, budget, assessment methodology, and governance structure. If the BID idea makes sense for Downtown, the second step would be the legal process to form the BID, which include the necessary legal steps to form the Business Improvement District according to the Nebraska BID statute. An illustrative timeline for the Norfolk Downtown Management Plan process can be found below.
August – December 2022 | Determine BID feasibility & draft proposed management plan
January – February 2023 | Legal process to form BID (if applicable)
The Norfolk City Council has allocated $100,000 of ARPA funding towards this planning process.
Candice Alder, Economic Developer