PLANNING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COLLEGE OF DESIGN AND PLANNING UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO-DENVER THOMAS A. BRAUN FALL 1982
DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
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THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT: A STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Thomas A. Braun
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement
for the degree of
Master in Planning and Community Development Department of Planning and Community Development College of Design and Planning University of Colorado at Denver
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction to the Problem Studied............................. 1
Problem Statement............................................... 2
Relevancy of the Development District to Planning............... 5
Organization of the Thesis...................................... 8
Scope of the Thesis............................................. 8
Executive Summary.............................................. 10
II. THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT
The Downtown Development District.............................. 12
Evolution of the Development District.................... 13
Goals and Objectives........................................... 15
Need for the Development District.............................. 17
Other Aspects.................................................. 18
Legal Aspects.................................................. 19
Funding Mechanisms............................................. 24
Administration of the District................................. 26
Implementing a District........................................ 27
III. CASE STUDIES
Introduction to the Downtown Development District.............. 35
Background on the District..................................... 35
Enabling Legislation........................................... 40
Funding Mechanisms............................................. 43
Goals of the District.......................................... 44
Programs of the District....................................... 45
Introduction to the Center City Commission..................... 50
Background on the Commission................................... 50
Enabling Legislation........................................... 51
Funding Mechanisms............................................. 53
Goals of the Commission........................................ 54
Programs of the Commission..................................... 57
Introduction to the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc
Background on the District..............................
The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc.................
Goals of the Committee..................................
Programs of the Committee...............................
SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDIES
Summary of the Case Studies.............................
Criteria for Implementation.............................
THE DENVER ANALYSIS
OPTIONS FOR ADDRESSING THE CRITERIA
A PROPOSAL FOR IMPLEMENTING A DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
Selection of a Lead Agency..............................
Selection of Options....................................
Prioritizing the Criteria...............................
Strategy for Implementing a District in Denver..........
Conclusion of Findings..................................
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM STUDIED
Downtown areas have traditionally been a focus for social and economic activity in the United States. Throughout the 19th Century, the central business district (CBD) gained stature as the primary location for many of these activities. The city center was to become the terminus of transportation lines, the hub of commercial and professional activities, and the site of most governmental functions (Urban Land Institute, 1980, p.5). Housing for the city's work force was also located in or adjacent to downtown, providing easy access to employment, schools, and shopping. During this period the CBD was alive with both activity and diversity fostered by its density and variety of uses.
The role of the CBD, however, has gone through many changes during the past century. Functions that were once limited to the central city because of its locational superiority have gradually shifted to other locations. A number of reasons have been put forth as cause for this de-centralization of the city. Improvements in the mobility of people and goods has in large part been responsible for this trend. This increased mobility has decreased the need for concentrating activities and functions in the CBD while promoting the development of suburbia.
The advent of instantaneous communication, the streetcar, wide spread use of the automobile, the interstate highway, Federal Housing Administration programs, and Veteran Administration programs all contributed to the decline of the center city and the growth of the suburbs. Initially, these factors resulted in the CBD losing its residential
component. However, as people left the city, other functions soon followed. Retail development, warehousing, industry, hotels and entertainment all began to abandon the central city. By the 1960's many of the economic and social activities that were once the focus of the CBD had gradually relocated to the suburbs.
Recent years have seen a renaissance of many American cities as new urban centers. Revitalizing the city center, however, is no small undertaking. It is often the case where a CBD's economic and tax bases have eroded, employment and entertainment opportunities have diminished, and downtown buildings and infrastructure have deteriorated. In addition to these factors, city governments are often unable or unwilling to contribute revenue towards downtown revitalization; and, the fragmented downtown business community often lacks the direction and resources to help itself. After decades of decline, it has become apparent that re-establishing the CBD as a center for social, economic and cultural activity will involve addressing a myriad of complex issues.
"Today many of the great cities in America are resurrecting themselves from a half century of neglect".
- Scott Ditch, The Rouse Company The Denver Urban Design Symposium, March, 1982
A number of strategies and programs have been designed to revitalize the CBD. Urban renewal, tax incentive programs, and federal programs to leverage private investment (such as Urban Development Action Grants),
have been used to stimulate economic development. Pedestrian malls, as a focus for downtown revitalization, have also been a widely used technique in many cities (Brambilla, 1978: p. III).
Rarely have these efforts involved a comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization. During the 1970s, however, a number of cities developed comprehensive programs involving the downtown business community and local governments in planning, financing and implementing downtown improvements. Initiated as a mechanism to revitalize, as well as manage downtown areas, the downtown development district has been effective at both.***
The downtown development district brings together the public and private sectors to address downtown issues. This partnership provides a framework in which downtown interest groups may coordinate efforts to improve the CBD. Planning and implementation are put directly in the hands of those affected -- the city government, property owners, tenants and those who work and play downtown. In effect, the development district provides "downtowners" with a mechanism for helping themselves. The key to the success of this mechanism lies in its authority to generate revenue and the organizational role it plays in bringing downtown interest groups together. Development districts have been established in cities to revitalize a depressed downtown, as well as in cities to manage and improve a healthy downtown.
*** While the terms used to refer to these mechanisms vary, downtown
development district will be used throughout this study.
Efforts have been made to re-establish, or strengthen, the CBO as the regional center of social and economic activity for many years.
These efforts have generally been made in a piece-meal, approach. Development districts have been established to implement a comprehensive program of downtown improvements. This thesis will address the following concept:
Through its capacity to organize downtown interests, generate revenue, and develop a management component for downtown, the development district can provide an effective mechanism for planning and implementing a comprehensive program of downtown improvements.
Specifically, the objectives of this thesis are to determine:
I. What conditions are necessary for the successful implementation and operation of a downtown development district?
II. Are existing conditions in Denver such that would allow for the successful implementation and operation of a development di strict?
III. What action is necessary to create the conditions that would allow for the successful implementation and operation of a development district in Denver?
An examination of three districts will provide the basis for addressing these objectives. The case studies are New Orleans, where a district was established primarily to manage growth and finance improvements, and Memphis and Syracuse, where districts were created to revitalize the city's CBD's. The study of these districts will reveal the conditions that were necessary for their implementation (Objective #1). Based on these findings, general criteria for determining the likelihood of a
city successfully implementing a district will be established. Denver will then be analyzed, based on these criteria, to determine if existing conditions would be likely to allow for the implementation of a district (Objective #2). The results of this analysis will provide the basis of a proposal for implementing a district in Denver (Objective #3).
RELEVANCY OF THE DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT TO PLANNING
The emergence of the development district as a mechanism for initiating downtown revitalization is very timely. A substantial reduction in federal grant-in-aid programs proposed for 1982 accelerates a trend that began in 1978 (Committee on Economic Development, 1982; p. 78). Cutbacks in federal aid to cities have severely impacted their ability to revitalize the CBD. The downtown development district offers city officials and the downtown community an alternative revenue source for initiating improvements.
To the extent that greater responsibility is shifted from the federal to the state and local levels, it is in the national interest to assure that state and local governments have the fiscal, legal, structural, and managerial capabilities needed to handle that responsibility. This is all the more important if local governments are to assure a key role in economic revitalization.
(Committee on Economic Development, 1982; p. 79)
Faced with increasing responsibility for the economic revitalization of downtowns, planners cannot afford to overlook the potential benefits offered by the development district.
Planners have traditionally been limited to public sector resources with which to address community needs. The development district allows for combining public resources with the private sector's resources and talents.
Most local officials are confronted with tight local budgets and cutbacks in federal aid in spite of continuing community problems and demands for public services. In this situation, one is forced to look at aternative ways to meet community needs. The challenge at the local level is to make best use of the full range of local resources (both public and private) and powers (both fiscal and non-fiscal) to meet community needs. Of particular concern here is to more effectively involve the private sector and its vast array of resources in local problem solving.
(Social Research Institute, 1982; p.2)
A public/private framework to problem solving is rapidly becoming a widely used approach in the 1980's. The downtown development district operates within this framework in addressing downtown issues, and as such, should be of particular interest to planners. The district provides a forum in which various interest groups (both public and private), may be brought together to address downtown issues.
"Communication -- the public must demand it and the private sector (developers), must provide it."
- Peter Bosselman, The Denver Urban Design Symposium, March, 1982
As previously stated, the findings of the three case studies provide the basis for this thesis. Initial research for these studies involved reviewing the operations of twenty districts before selecting three for
study. This preliminary research was done through the review of literature and published reports by the districts themselves. Eleven of the twenty districts were limited exclusively to mall management or specific issues such as parking. These districts were eliminated from consideration.
Phone interviews were made with staff members from the remaining districts to find out more in depth information on their operation. Based on these interviews, New Orleans, Memphis, and Syracuse were selected for study.
After these districts were chosen, additional phone interviews were made to obtain information needed to complete the studies. These interviews were made with the directors and staff of the districts.
The findings of the case studies were used to develop criteria relative to the implementation and operation of the districts. The criteria were selected, then, based on the role it played in the districts' implementation and operation. In addition to this, each of the criteria were found to have been a factor in all three districts studied. An analysis of existing conditions in Denver was then made with respect to these four criteria. This analysis was based primarily on interviews with public officials, individuals from the private sector, published information, and the writer's personal judgment.
The Denver analysis was compared with the four criteria to determine if existing conditions in Denver would allow for the implementation of a district. This comparison revealed many shortcomings in Denver's present
capacity to establish a district. Based on this comparison, a proposal was developed for how conditions in Denver could be changed to accommodate a development district.
ORGANIZATION OF THE THESIS
This paper is comprised of six chapters. The first chapter provides a basic introduction to the downtown development district. This introduction includes information on how and why the district came to be established, as well as information concerning its organization and operation. Chapter two is comprised of the three case studies. A summary of the case studies and the four criteria that were developed from them are presented in the third chapter. The Denver analysis is presented in the following chapter. This analysis was done with respect to the four criteria presented in the preceding chapter. Different options for satisfying the four criteria are presented in chapter five.
The final chapter is a proposal for implementing a development district in Denver. This proposal is based on the four criteria and was developed from the options provided in chapter five. A summary of this study and further considerations pertaining to the implementation of a district in Denver are included in the conclusion of this paper.
THE SCOPE OF THE THESIS
This study is an analysis of the factors relating to the implementation of a downtown development district and the role it has played in the revitalization of the CBD. This analysis is based in large part on
the findings of three case studies. Time constraints were responsible for limiting the number of districts studied to three. The case studies revealed four criteria pertaining to the implementation and operation of the districts. While these criteria were selected because of the role they played in the operation of each district, they cannot be assumed to address all the factors relating to a district's implementation and operation. The focus of this thesis, then, is limited by the findings of these three case studies and the four criteria which were developed from them.
Time constraints were responsible for the other factors which limit the scope of this study. First, information gathered for the case studies was obtained primarily by contacting officials from the districts. There was probably no single source that could provide more complete information on the operation of the districts than the districts themselves. However, using them as the primary source of information may raise questions concerning the credibility of the data. Secondly, time constraints affected the manner in which the Denver analysis was made.
The scope of the analysis was limited to the four criteria developed from the case studies. Consequently, the final proposal for implementing a development district in Denver deals only with these four criteria.
The conclusion to this study will address some additional aspects relating to the implementation of a district in Denver that were not dealt with in the actual proposal.
It has been established that a downtown development district can serve as an effective mechanism for initiating improvements and services. Based on the findings of the case studies, four criteria were determined to be necessary for the successful implementation and operation of a development district. The Denver analysis revealed that only one of the four criteria are satisfied at this time. This would indicate that existing conditions in Denver would not allow for the implementation of a district without some action taken to address the remaining criteria.
The criteria that is satisfied involves the need for a public/private framework to coordinate cooperation between the two sectors. The Denver Partnership, because of its previous involvement in downtown issues and its experience with public/private partnerships, could facilitate this framework. For this reason, and particularly because of its Proposal for a Downtown Denver Management Program, the Partnership has been selected as the "lead-agency" responsible for satisfying the remaining criteria. This will involve establishing a need for the district, establishing support for the district from the public and private sectors, and initiating the necessary legislation to allow for the district. The proposal for implementing the development district is found in Chapter Six.
"The Downtown Development District"
Downtown development districts provide downtowns with a management tool capable of implementing and financing a comprehensive program of services and improvements. A development district gives downtown interests a unified voice through which to identify the problems and needs of downtown. Given the organization of people directly involved in downtown, the capacity to generate revenue, the ability to make plans, and the power to build and manage facilities, the district serves as a management entity for downtown. This management capacity has previously eluded downtowns. The fragmentation of ownership and interests have historically prevented any form of unified management in downtown areas. The advent of the development district has given downtowns a vehicle to meet this need.
This chapter provides a general description of how development districts came into being and how they serve the needs of downtown. Development districts are a relatively new mechanism and as such, their role in initiating downtown improvements is not well defined. Enabling legislation, funding capabilities, and the particular needs of the downtown all determine how a development district will function. While these factors vary between states and cities, it is possible to put forth some general statements that hold true for most development districts. The issues to be addressed in this chapter include how development districts evolved from special districts, the goals and objectives of development districts, why the need arose for development districts, legal and legislative aspects, funding mechanisms, administration, and
the necessary elements for the implementation of the district.
THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
The downtown development district can assist the business community and local governments in a joint effort to develop, fund and implement comprehensive improvement plans and additional services. (Brandt,
1981: p. 11). The development district has become a valuable tool in which these two groups can work together to facilitate downtown action. The district has evolved from the power of public bodies to establish special assessments on a particular area in order to finance public improvement or services. While downtown development districts have undergone many modifications in order to satisfy the particular needs of downtowns, they are based on the fundamental concepts of special tax assessments. Harold M. Groves, in his book Financing, Sixth Edition, defines special assessments as follows:
Special assessments are usually marked by the following characteristics, 1) They allocate benefit and special charges associated with a public improvement or at least a public service to a special zone or district, which may or may not be co-terminus with a political unit, and 2)
They allocate benefit and charges (usually) to land (such as area or frontage)...The absolute least common denominator appears to be some public improvement and some special allotment of its benefit...the benefit that special assessments are supposed to measure is usually conceived in terms of increment to land value caused by a public improvement.
Special districts (or assessments) have been a part of American politics since the early 1800's (Brandt, 1981; p.l). Assessments to property owners in a particular area have been used to finance a wide variety of public improvements and services. The public benefits afforded by special assessments, however, have historically been single purpose.
School districts, water and sewer districts, park and recreation districts, soil conservation districts, and assessments for new streets or sidewalks are some examples of single purpose districts.
Fundamentally, the downtown development district is similar to the special assessment district in both purpose and function. What distinguishes the development district from the assessment district is that it has become a multi-purpose mechanism with a higher degree of sophistication and comprehensiveness (Alexander, 1979 : p. 9). The ability to initiate and implement a number of programs all aimed at one specific goal has resulted in a far more effective tool for downtown action than the traditional asssessment district.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
It is possible for a number of improvements to be made in a downtown area within the existing framework of special assessment financing. Improved lighting, re-built sidewalks, and the resurfacing of streets are all examples of downtown improvements that have been financed by special assessment. In these cases, as had been the traditional practice, an assessment was made on property directly abutting the improvement.
A new method for assessing property became necessary when special assesment districts began to be used to finance parking improvements.
With parking facilities it was assumed benefits were realized by not only abutting properties, but nearby properties as well. This situation required a means for determining the "degree of benefit" realized by
properties within the district. Under this new method, assessments levied on a property for an improvement would be relative to the "degree of benefit" realized by the property. Delineating areas within a district based on a "degree of benefit" broadened the range of actions financiable through special assessment districts (Alexander, 1979; p. 10). Malls, skyways, plazas, and sidewalk improvements (benches, information signs, etc.), are just some of the improvements that have been financed under this new method of assessment.
Another significant development in the evolution of the downtown development district was the inclusion of planning as one of the district's authorities. Recognizing the importance of effective planning when implementing downtown improvements, legislators began to grant districts the authority to assess properties for the purpose of planning. Coupled with the authority to assess property and the power to implement programs, this planning element has made the development district a potentially powerful and effective tool for initiating downtown improvements.
The addition of planning to the development district's authorities is particularly significant. This planning mechanism combined what had previously been a public function with a defined private constituency.
This public/private framework plays a prominent role in the operation of a development district. The private sector's vested interest in downtown has added a new dimension to the downtown planning process.
The types of activities and improvements that development districts
are allowed to provide varies depending on state legislation and city charters. The range of improvements and activities is, however, increasing all the time (Alexander, 1979; p. 11). Table #1-1 has been taken from the Downtown District Development Guide, a publication of Downtown Research and Development Center. This list was compiled from an analysis of a number of state laws pertaining to development districts. While it is doubtful any one district would be involved in all of these activities this list does show the wide range of activities that have been undertaken by downtown development districts.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
The purpose of a downtown development district is to serve as a vehicle for planning, financing, and executing downtown action. The action initiated by a district will differ from city to city, depending on the particular needs of the downtown area. The needs of downtown in one city may be for economic development programs while in another city there may be a need for increasing downtown services such as sanitation and security. Regardless of what the goals and objectives of the develop ment district are, it is important that they be developed in concert with city leaders and the downtown business community. The objectives of a development district can best be actualized when they have the support and participation of all parties involved in the process.
The goals of a development district may include the very specific and the very general. The types of specific goals found among develop-
Activities and Improvements Provided by Development Districts
Planning Administration: General district administration, planning, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, plans and specifications, environmental impact assessment, design controls, parking studies, transit studies, traffic studies.
Street Improvements: Phone booths, drinking fountains, directories, benches, tree plantings, flowers, shrubs and bushes, planters, directional signs, lighting, decorative lighting, street furniture, kiosks, trash receptacles, awnings, canopies, information booths, landscaping, music systems, water features, fire hydrants, display booths, display cases, display areas, fountains, aquariums, aviaries.
Activity Places: Child care centers, play areas, washrooms, parks, malls, semi-malls, transitways, plazas, pedestrian skyways, underground walkways, swimming pools, restaurants, cafes, outdoor restaurant, newsstands, recreational facilities, convention centers, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, museums, marinas, meeting facilities.
Promotional Work: New business development, advertising, public information, Christmas lighting, decorative banners, special attractions, special events.
Transportation Improvements: Traffic signals, parking lots, parking structures, pedestrian skyways, underground walkways, moving sidewalks, bus stop shelters, docks, harbors, marinas, vehicular ramps, vehicular tunnels, vehicular overpasses, buses, mini-buses, other transport, control of traffic, close streets, close alleys, widen streets, widen alleys, restrict traffic, airports, heliports, own common carriers, monorails, helicopters.
Urban Arts: Sculpture, murals, plantings, fountains.
Downtown Operations: Operate or run restaurants, cafes, buses, child care centers, arenas, convention centers, museums, auditoriums, marinas, stadiums. Run services like special police, street cleaning and trash handling, common carriers.
Retail Development: Marketing research, tenant leasing and mix, technical assistance to merchants, interim uses for vacant store fronts.
Source: Downtown District Action Guide, p. 12, Downtown Research and
Development Center, 1979.
ment districts will be detailed by the case studies in Chapter Two.
Some general goals of development districts, relevant to most any downtown, would include the following:
- The district will serve as a viable financing mechanism and produce positive benefits for downtown.
- The district will be responsive to the needs of those who created it.
- The district will work with the city government to perform both economically and without duplication.
- The district will unify previously fragmented downtown studi es.
- The district will foster the participation and organization of the downtown community.
- The district will identify, plan, finance, and implement necessary downtown improvements.
WHY THE NEED AROSE FOR THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
Downtown development districts, while still in their infancy, have proven to be an innovative and effective tool for downtown action.
Although only two dozen districts are in operation to date, they have nonetheless shown the capacity to address the needs of downtown (Alexander, p. 5). Two factors have contributed to the need for a new mechanism to plan, fund, and execute downtown improvements. A steady decline in the tax base of many cities, along with the federal government's new position on aid to cities, have left city government no choice but to reduce city services and capital improvements. With its fund raising capacity, a development district can provide a downtown area with a new means for generating revenues.
The advantage a development district offers a city as a funding source for downtown improvements is probably its most appealing feature. The shift in population, industry, and business during the 1960's and 501s from central cities to the suburbs left many cities in financial jeopardy. Tax bases eroded, the costs of services and improvements increased, and city infrastructure continued to decay (Brandt, 1981; p. 5). When the need arose for downtown revitalization efforts, city governments were generally unable to offer much in the way of financial assistance. As a result, cities began relying on the federal government for assistance in the form of categorical grants, demonstration projects, special and general revenue sharing, and counter-cyclical economic aid (Brandt, p. 5).
The changing posture of the federal government will undoubtedly impact the fiscal condition of cities. The Reagan Administration's proposed reductions in aid to cities will dramatically affect their ability to provide services and improvements. While the long-term effects on Reaganomics are unclear, several authoritative studies agree that the short term outlook is alarming (Newsweek, April 5, 1982: p. 17). As a short or long-term solution to fiscal constraint, the development district can play an active role in funding downtown improvements.
OTHER ASPECTS OF DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
A number of factors play a role in the effectiveness of development districts to address downtown issues. In the Downtown District Action Guide, Laurence Alexander points to four particular reasons why the
development district "works" in the downtown areas (Alexander, p. 5).
Mind: A downtown development district brings together the highly motivated minds of "downtowners" to generate solutions to downtown problems.
Money: The development district has the power to raise funds to finance downtown action.
Muscle: The development district has the additional power to plan, build, own, rent, operate, or manage facilities.
Management: Given the above, the development districts have the ability to manage downtown in a comprehensive manner.
In addition to these factors, the following aspects of development districts also contribute to their effectiveness as a tool for downtown action.
- The planning for improvements is put directly in the hands of those impacted and most likely to benefit from improvements.
- Downtown action can be taken out of the political arena.
- The development district can unify previously fragmented studies and programs.
- By taxing itself for its own improvements, the development district directly serves the self interests of downtown.
- A district tax is politically more favorable than using a city's general revenue for exclusive downtown improvements.
- A development district may have greater flexibility if it is exempted from city personnel, financing, purchasing, or contracting regulations.
LEGAL ASPECTS OF DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
Virtually all aspects of the development district are determined by either state enabling legislation or city charters. Because there are no uniform standards for how they are established or how they operate, a great variety is seen among existing districts. The terminology for development districts also differs from state to state, creating further
problems when discussing districts. Downtown improvement district, downtown development district, special assessment district, and benefit assessment district are all commonly used to refer to similar mechanisms. A distinction can, however, be made between these terms. The special assessment and benefit assessment districts are essentially financing mechanisms. The downtown improvement and downtown development districts are also financing mechanisms, but generally have broader powers (the term downtown development district will be used throughout the course of this study). These include administration, planning, and implementation, maintenance, and promotion of downtown improvements and activities (Alexander, 1979; p. 19).
The differences found among development districts range from specifics concerning implementation procedures to limitations on which cities may implement a district. In some cases, legislation was designed exclusively for one city. In other cases, legislation grants the authority to establish a district to any interested city. Still other states limit development districts to cities that meet certain population requi rements.
Variety is also seen when a home rule charter enables a city to establish a development district on its own authority. In this case, a city has the flexibility to design a district especially suited to meet its needs.
Enabling legislation will indicate exactly what powers a development district will have, and how it will function within the framework of
existing governmental entities. The type of funding mechanisms to be used and how much revenue a district can generate is also determined by legislation. These factors will in large part determine what type of projects the district will be able to undertake.
The degree of variation between development district legislation makes it difficult to refer to them collectively. Suffice it to say that the legislation allowing for the creation of a development district, whether it comes from the city or state, will generally address every aspect of how the district will operate. The following are examples of the various elements of state legislation concerning development districts.
Statement of Purpose: It is hereby determined and declared by the General Assembly that the deterioration of the central business districts of urban centers of the state by reason of obsolescense, overcrowding, faulty arrangement of design,... and is a threat to the property tax and other revenue sources of such municipalities... that the elimination or urban blight and decay and the modernization and general improvement of such central business districts by government action are considered necessary to promote the health, safety, and welfare of such communities; and that the restoration of such central business districts is the appropriate subject for remedial legislation (see 2, Act 162, H.B. 357, Arkansas, 1973).
Sources of Funding Available
b. Special district tax of up to 2 mills
c. Borrow money as permitted by state statutes
d. Revenues from property owned, leased, licensed, or operated by the Authori ty
e. Proceeds of tax increment financing
f. General funds of the city cannot be obligated for or by the Authority
(Michigan Downtown Development District Legislation, Section 9, under consideration by the General Assembly, S.B. 1152)
Powers of the District
a. Vested with eminent domain
b. May purchase or dispose of real or personal property
c. May undertake physical improvements
d. May charge for use or lease of facilities under Authorities control and pledge revenues to payment of revenue bond
e. May accept grants and donations
f. May receive proceeds of special tax referred to
g. May receive revenues from any property, project or facility Authority owns
h. May cooperate and enter into agreements with any government agency
i. May make or receive from city or county conveyances, leaseholds, interests, grants, contributions, loans, etc.
j. May issue revenue bonds to mature in not more than 40 years at a maximum rate of 6% such bonds are not a debt of the municipality (section 8.5 from a resume of Florida Legislation providing for the creation of Downtown Development Authorities, passed 1966)
Appointment of Advisory Board: In its discretion, the city may
create and appoint an advisory board consisting of seven persons.
At least a majority of the members shall be owners or occupants of
property located in the development district which they serve.
Such an advisory board would advise the city council on the con-
struction and implementation of the development program and maintenance and operation of the district after the development program has been completed (an act authorizing the City of Minneapolis and the City of Robbinsdale to create development districts, S.F. No. 2180, Chapter No. 677, State of Minnesota).
These examples illustrate the detail to which state legislation defines how a development district is to function. In addition to these elements mentioned, legislation will generally address the tax status of the district, its relationship with existing governmental entities, administration and staffing, budgeting, general responsibilities, and procedures for implementing the district. In most cases, a section will also be devoted to defining the terms used in legislation.
It is the local governing body of the community that can, by law, establish and create a district (Alexander, 1979; p. 19). The authority to do so may come from home rule powers, general state enabling legislation, or special legislation designed just for one community. The initiative for a district will generally come from downtown property owners or people with a vested interest in downtown. Two situations may require downtown interests to have state laws modified or enacted. In the absence of home rule authority or existing legislation, a community desiring a district will have to involve itself in legislating a new law. The situation may also arise where existing legislation does not allow a community to do what is wanted or needed. Here again, it may be necessary for local interests to lobby for changes in legislation.
FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICTS
With the exception of funding for large capital improvement projects, development districts rely predominantly on the special assessment for financing downtown action. Development districts have traditionally been authorized to use the following funding sources: (Alexander,
1975: p. 21).
a. Ad valorum taxation
b. Benefit assessment taxation
c. Tax increment financing
d. Issuance of bonds
e. Business of license or sales-type tax overrides
f. License of land, facilities, or air rights including rentals to businesses space for restaurants, music systems, and such
g. Operation of revenue producing activities
h. Receipt of gifts and donations
i. Use of city funds directly and in joint, or parallel programs Bonds, ad valorum taxation, benefit assessments, and tax increment financing are four commonly used financing methods. The following are brief explanations of those techniques:
Bonds: Development districts with the authority to issue bonds
generally do so to finance capital improvement projects. Revenue
bonds and limited obligation bonds are most often used. Revenue Bonds
rely on revenue generated by the improvement to pay back the loan.
Limited obligation bonds are backed by the power of the unit of
government involved. In the case of development districts, funds generated from district taxes are used to retire the bonds. Both of these bonds are exempt from federal taxes.
Ad Valorum Taxation: This tax is based on the value of property or improvements made within a district. Legislation will set a maximum millage that can be levied by the district. One advantage of this tax is that it is not related directly to the benefits accrued by property in the district. The district does not have the burden of justifying the tax based on benefits provided property in the di strict.
Benefit Assessment Taxation: This funding method involves a charge imposed on benefited property in proportion to the benefit received by such property to defray the costs of special improvements or services. Justifying the benefit afforded a property is the responsibility of the district. Four primary ways of assessing benefit are:
A. Sales or increase in sales
B. Increase in property value as a result of the improvement
C. The front footage, or square footage, of the property with distance to the improvement included as a factor
D. Combination of a and b
Tax Increment Financing: Within a development district, property tax increments generated by new development are used to amortize bonds issued to finance public improvements. The bonds are outside the statutory or constitutional debt limit of the municipality.
In addition to these traditional financing techniques, a number of "indirect" financing methods have been developed for funding downtown action. Two of these methods are transfer of development rights (TDR), and incentive zoning. While these methods have traditionally been administered by city agencies, a downtown development district can be in an excellent position to facilitate their use.
ADMINISTRATIVE ASPECTS OF THE DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
The administration of downtown development districts involves the internal structure of the organization as well as its external relationships with governmental entities and the downtown business community.
As with the other elements of the district, enabling legislation will define how the administration is to be structured and the type of external relationships it will have. Here again, variety is seen in the administrative structure of existing development districts.
After approval for the district has been received, a board of directors is typically appointed by the mayor. This board may be advisory in nature or it may be totally responsible for administering the district. Enabling legislation will define the board's authority and responsibilities as well as its size, composition, and terms of service.
Typically, the board is responsible for the operation and performance of the district. Some of these responsibilities would include preparing annual reports and plans, setting a mi 11 age rate for assessments, maintaining staff, and directing the implementation of district
plans. The supporting staff plays an important role by assisting the board in developing and implementing its plans. Staff positions typically include a director, assistants, planners, designers, project coordinators, public relations people, and secretarial help.
The basis for the development district is the public/private framework in which it addresses central city issues. As such, the district is involved in working closely with city governmental entities. This may involve negotiating budget requests with the council or contracting for services from various city departments. Regardless, the nature of this relationship is one where cooperation between the two sectors is necessary for the district's goals to be actualized.
Since the development district is initiated by and for downtown interests, effective communication between the board and the downtown business community is necessary. To ensure this, most legislation will require a certain percentage of the board members to either be downtown property owners or have a "vested interest" in downtown. One of the key aspects of the development district is that it puts planning directly in the hands of those affected by the district. For this reason it is important that a line of communication exist between "downtowners" and the board.
IMPLEMENTING A DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT
The foremost prerequisite for creating a development district is that the necessary legislation be in place allowing for implementation.
If current legislation does not allow for the formation of a district, it then is necessary to enact the appropriate legislation. This may come at the city or state level. When legislation does exist, it must be studied to see exactly what type of district can be created and what powers it will have. The proper procedure for initiating the district will also be outlined in the legislation.
Typically, the people wanting a district will approach the city to have it enacted (Alexander, 1979: p. 19). While the city establishes the district, the downtown community must first approve it. Depending on legislation, a certain percentage of property owners or tenants are often required to approve the plan before city approval. For this reason, it is essential that the district have the support of the downtown community.
It is necessary then, for the advocates of the district to "sell" the idea to the downtown community since downtowners are essentially buying the district by virtue of the tax levy. In return, they will expect to gain some benefit for their expenditure. Both costs and benefits must be presented in the campaign to establish the district. This would include a specific plan for downtown action, an estimate of costs and funding sources, and a projection of benefits for downtown (such as increases in retail sales or improved parking facilities (Alexander, 1979: p. 19).
Drawing the boundaries for the district is particularly important in establishing support for the program. To have the support of its
residents, the district should encompass an area with sufficient common interest. All property in the district must realize some benefit from the program if it is to be supported. A district whose boundaries include properties beyond its range of benefits may not receive the support of those property owners. For this reason, the boundaries of a district must be drawn relative to the programs anticipated benefits.
The downtown development district has proven to be an effective tool for planning, financing, and implementing downtown improvements. Based on the concept of the special assessment district, the development district assesses downtown property in order to finance improvements and programs. The development district, however, has evolved into a more comprehensive and sophisticated mechanism than the special district through its multi-purpose approach to downtown issues. Operating within the framework of a public/ private partnership, the downtown development district is capable of providing a city with the revenue necessary for downtown improvements. In this era of fiscal constraint, the development district has become a valuable tool for the city as well as the downtown business community.
Enabling legislation will outline the various aspects of the development district's operation. This includes procedures for establishing the district, funding mechanisms available to the district, and the administrative structure of the district. In some cases, legislation will define precisely what programs and projects the district may be
involved in as well. Whether it originates at the city or state level, wide variety is seen in existing development district legislation. Consequently, the purpose, function, and operation of development districts varies from city to city.
Regardless of how it functions and the type of programs it implements, the underlying goal of any development district is to initiate downtown improvements. These improvements are generally made exclusively for downtown interests and are financed primarily by downtown property owners and tenants. For the costs of financing district action, downtown interests expect to accrue some benefit. The costs and resultant benefits of the district are probably the most important factors in gaining support for the district. These factors are particularly important because without the support of property owners and tenants, a development district will have little likelihood of ever being established.
CASE STUDIES J
INTRODUCTION TO THE CASE STUDIES
This chapter will present case studies of three downtown development districts. While a general understanding of the development district was provided in the preceding chapter, further clarification of the role these districts play in downtown development is necessary. This need for clarification is a result of the variety that is seen in the purpose and operation of existing development districts. The case studies will provide a detailed account of three different development districts.
The studies will address how and why the districts were established, how they function within the downtown community, and the impact they have had on downtown.
As outlined in the Introduction of this study, information gathered from the case studies will be used to formulate a set of criteria thought to be necessary for the successful implementation and operation of a development district. This criteria will then be applied to Denver to determine if existing conditions could facilitate the implementation of a development district. Based on this analysis, a proposal for establishing a development district for downtown Denver will be made.
Three development districts have been selected for study. They are: 1) The Downtown Development District of New Orleans, 2) The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc., and 3) The Center City Commission of Memphis. These cases were selected for study because of their particular characteristics and their relevance to Denver. While all three districts
share common goals of improving the economic, social, and aesthetic environment of downtown, each operates in a different manner to achieve this goal. The following is a brief description of each district and the factors which contributed to its selection for study.
The Downtown Development District of New Orleans (DDD)
Established in 1975, DDD levies a special ad valorum tax on property in the district to finance planning, improvements, and additional services. The District is governed by a Board of Directors which is appointed by, and must answer to, the city. DDD is the implementing authority which was established in response to recommendations made in the city's Growth Management Program. The District has developed an extensive program of services and capital improvements to improve the CBD's position as the regional center for entertainment, retail, and cultural activity.
DDD was selected for study because it is probably the most comprehensive and successful development district of its kind in the country.
The District is an example of an organization which operates as an unattached board of the city, working closely with the city council and city departments.
The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. (PTC)
The DTC is a branch of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Ononegda Country (MDA). The Committee was created to provide administrative services for the city's Downtown Special Benefit
District. The DTC is responsible for determining the scope and direction of the District's programs which are designed to impact the economic vitality and attractiveness of the CBD. The Committee is actively involved in economic development, promoting special events, and increasing maintenance and security in the District.
The Downtown Committee represents a district administered by a private-non profit organization (MDA) for the city. This relationship provides a contrast to the operation of the ODD of New Orleans. Another relevant factor is that MDA provided the initiative for establishing the assessment district for downtown Syracuse.
Center City Commission of Memphis (CCC)
Formed in 1977 as the official partnership between private business and government, CCC sponsors programs and events aimed at the revitalization of downtown Memphis. The Commission was responsible for establishing the Center City Revenue Finance Corporation (CCRFC) which provides assistance in financing downtown development projects. Other functions of the Commission are the production of special events, providing technical advice to merchants, development marketing, and serving as a clearinghouse for information on downtown.
When considering development districts for study, two factors distinguished CCC from other districts. These factors were the success CCRFC has had in stimulating the revitalization of downtown, and secondly the Commission's use of three major funding sources (City of Memphis,
Shelby County, and revenue from the special tax district). The Commission is involved in coordinating the operation of the Mid-America Mall as well as activities that are downtown-wide in scope. This dual role of the Commission (mall management and coordination of downtown activities), was also a factor in its selection for study.
The content of each case study varies slightly depending on the particular characteristics of each district. The basic components of each case study includes the following:
Introduction to the District
INTRODUCTION TO THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT OF NEW ORLEANS
Of the three districts studied, the Downtown Development District of New Orleans (DDD), has the most extensive program for planning and implementing downtown improvements. Created by state legislation and approved in a city-wide voter referendum, the District is designed to strengthen the central business district through planning, capital improvements, and supplemental city services. The District serves a 160 square block area (750 acres), on which is levied an ad valorem tax on real property. These funds are then used to finance improvements and services within the District. The District is involved in security, maintenance, events, promotion, economic development, monitoring street activities, and capital improvements. Two-thirds of the District's funds are spent on services and improvements (over and above those normally provided by the city), while one-third of the funds are spent on capital improvements. In operation since 1975, the District's two main contributions to downtown are serving as a funding mechanism and as a forum for discussion of downtown issues. (Interview with Tom Cucullu, 6/8/82). The DDD is regarded by many as one of the most comprehensive and effective downtown development districts in the country.
BACKGROUND ON DISTRICT
As the regional center of business, commerce, and entertainment of 1.2 million metropolitan residents, New Orleans has traditionally had a strong downtown area. Along with this economic vitality, New Orleans has also had a history of producing fragmented CBD studies and plans
with little successful implementation of their recommendations (Downtown Development District of New Orleans, 1981: p.l). In response to this, a "Case for a Comprehensive Master Plan" was done in the late 1960's which reviewed over thirty-five major planning efforts and recommended the preparation of a comprehensive plan for the city's CBD.
It was around this time that a process orientation to planning was introduced as an alternative to comprehensive master plans. Recognizing the inherent limitations of implementing the recommendations of a comprehensive plan, the City of New Orleans and the Central Area Council of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce jointly established a Growth Management Program (GMP), for the CBD. The purpose of the GMP was to establish a process whereby goals for the CBD's growth can be set and implemented with active participation from the public and private sectors. As co-sponsors of the GMP, the City and the Chamber of Commerce contracted Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and Todd (WMRT), to prepare a technical study of the CBD. This report was to serve as the basis for the planning and implementation of the GMP.
The Growth Management Program was established in August, 1973. To direct the GMP, the City and the Chamber appointed a Steering Committee and an Executive Committee. The roles of these committees were to administer the GMP, monitor change, ensure citizen participation, and make recommendations to the City and public agencies. (Technical Report of GMP, 1975, p. xi). Throughout this two year process, the GMP received broad support from groups of citizens, business and civic leaders, the City Administration, and the City Council. Initial funding of $180,000
for the program was shared by the City and the Central Area Council of the Chamber of Commerce. WMRT relied on the advice and input of the GMP Committees throughout the preparation of their document. The final Technical Report was completed in April, 1975.
THE TECHNICAL REPORT OF THE GMP
The Technical Report by WMRT provides the framework in which the GMP operates. Growth management is an ongoing process capable of determining the direction of change, evaluating programs and policies, determining public strategies, encouraging private response to public commitment, and opening the management process to the public (Technical Report, 1975: p. xii). New Orleans' GMP allows for day-to-day decisions to be made within an overall management plan and program. The Technical Report of the GMP provides the information needed for this decision-making.
The Technical Report included studies on market forecasts, growth models, transportation, urban design, CBD neighborhood districts, and implementation. Of particular significance are the report's conclusions and resultant recommendations. Conclusions were summarized under the headings of Growth, Growth Management, and the Need for a Plan. Some of these conclusions are as follows:
The Market: Current investment trends will continue through the 1980's and 1990's.
Growth is Beneficial: The growth in New Orleans is very substantial and its nature will benefit the CBD, the City, and the Region.
Causes for Growth: The success of the Vieux Carre, the Poydras Street widening, the International Mart, the Superdome, and the rejection of the Vieux Carre Expressway are cited as significant contributors to the City's growth.
Impacts of Growth: Demolition of historic structures, traffic congestion, and the despoliation of the environment are currently serious problems. Secondary impacts of growth are also being felt.
Random Growth: Speculation and economic necessity are causing random and unrelated growth, minimizing the chances for coherent urban design.
Goals for Growth and Need for Control: The people of New Orleans have stated their goals for growth and preservation. To achieve these goals, there must be the adoption and implementation of more control mechanisms than currently exist.
Main Issue: How much control, and by whom, is needed to balance CBD growth with growth control and preservation?
THE NEED FOR A PLAN
Purpose: A plan for the CBD is needed as part of the GMP. This plan will serve to gain consensus on goals, reach agreements on problem-solving, and direct the formation of policy for control and guidance of change.
Recommendations of the Report addressed Urban Design Principles, Public Works, Implementation, and Strategy and Tactics. Some of these recommendations are:
URBAN DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Character and Location of Development: High intensity new development should be located near present concentrations of high density development. Developments of mixed office, hotel, retail, and residential uses should be encouraged. Hotel development should be distributed throughout the CBD to spread the generation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Pedestrian Amenities: New development should provide for pedestrian amenities such as arcades, urban parks, and street landscaping.
Historic Structures: Historic structures should be rehabilitated for appropriate uses.
SPECIFIC PUBLIC WORKS
The Movement System: Develop a Riverfront Boulevard (Lee Circle to Howard Avenue, Front Street to Poydras Street), develop Perdido Street and Lafayette Street into a pedestrian mall, emphasize pedestrian movement on St. Charles Avenue, and develop various pedestrian ways and overpasses, including a pedestrian river-walk.
Parking: Develop intercept parking and peripheral parking for the CBD.
Circulation: Develop and operate an internal shuttle-bus system to connect various CBD locations.
PARKS, OPEN SPACES, AND PEDESTRIAN SYSTEM
Plazas: Develop Italian Piazza and Spanish Plaza into open space system.
Beautification: Landscape pedestrian ways, improve lighting, refurbish sidewalks, install street furniture, and provide bus shelters on Canal Street and other pedestrian ways so as to connect elements of open space system.
The CBDCI Plan: Declare the CBD core and frame a Community Improvement Area under Act 170, prepare, adopt, and implement the CBDCI Plan.
Special Tax District: Enact legislation under Act 498 to declare CBD Core and Frame a Special Tax District, using the tax levied for financing program.
Historic Districts: Declare a CBD and Lafayette Sguare Historic District, along with Historic Landmark designation outside these districts.
Zoning: Reduce the F.A.R. for the entire CBD and develop new zoning categories to include bonus incentives.
Parking: Develop a CBD parking policy including rate control and a parking authority mechanism.
Skid Row: Develop and operate a Rehabilitation and Detoxification Center to eliminate Skid Row in a target time of ten years.
Private, Non-Profit Development Corporation: To continue the public/private partnership and to institutionalize Growth Management, create a private non-profit development corporation.
STRATEGY AND TACTICS
New Growth: Encourage growth to the Pydras/Riverfront Corridor by establishment and rezoning of the CBD and Lafayette Square Historic District as the first step.
New Environments: Create new environments at multi-purpose subcenters and disperse convention hotels away from the Vieux Carre.
The conclusions and resultant recommendations of the Technical Report have been presented to show some of the issues and conditions which gave rise to the need for a downtown development district. These issues presented in the Report were a result of WMRT technical studies, as well as input gathered throughout the GMP process. The need for a wide range of downtown improvements in order to strengthen its position as the regional center of business, entertainment, and retail trade, is substantiated by the Report. Of particular significance among the Report's recommendations on implementation are the CBDCI, the private, non-profit development corporation, and the special tax district. These key recommendations are intended to provide an implementing authority for the other recommendations of the GMP. As a consequence of the GMP, and with the backing of the business community and the public sector, legislation was passed that enabled the establishment of a special taxing district for the CBD. (DDD of New Orleans, p. 2). It is this legislation under which the DDD now operates to finance and implement the goals and objectives of the GMP.
ENABLING LEGISLATION FOR THE DISTRICT
The first attempt to enact legislation allowing for the creation of a downtown development district was in 1972. At that time, according to
the state constitution, legislation was subject to a state-wide voters referendum. That year, along with over twenty other state constitutional amendments, development district legislation was rejected by the voters.
A change in the state constitution took this matter out of the hands of state-wide voters. Act 498 of the 1974 State Legislature granted the city of New Orleans the right to establish a special tax district for its downtown, provided it be approved on a city-wide referendum. Voter approval was obtained that year and on January 1, 1975, the Downtown Development District of the City of New Orleans was created. (A copy of the enabling legislation is contained in the appendix.)
Throughout its various stages, the GMP had the support of City Hall as well as the downtown business community (Interview with Cucullu, 6/8/82). There was a concensus among these interests that some sort of action was necessary for initiating downtown improvements. When the time came to pay for the mechanism needed to make these improvements, support remained strong among downtown interests. Additudinal surveys done by the Chamber of Commerce showed, however, that the main interest of downtown businesses was for the District to finance supplemental services to the CBD. These services, which were not mentioned in the GMP Technical Report, included increasing security and sanitation in the District. Without these services as a part of the District's program, support for the DDD may have been lost.
Enabling legislation for the District contains two important elements pertaining to the expenditure of the special tax funds (DDD of New Orleans, 1981: p. 2). First, the special tax funds can be used only
for services and improvements over and above those normally provided by
the city, or which in the future it may be obligated to provide. The funds generated by the tax district are designed to undertake new activities or increase existing ones and are not intended to be a substitute for ordinary city expenditures. Secondly, the services provided by the District must be provided by the city through its regularly constituted departments and agencies. The purpose of this requirement is to avoid duplication of administrative and management efforts.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE DISTRICT
As outlined in the District's enabling legislation, the District is governed by a nine member Board of Commissioners. The Mayor appoints all Commissioners, who must then be approved by the City Council. The Chamber of Commerce submits a list of eight nominees to the Mayor from which five of the nine Commissioners must be chosen.
The District's Board of Directors is responsible for preparing an annual plan outlining the public improvements and services proposed for the District. This annual plan also outlines the projected costs of each program, identifies possible sources of matching funds, and determines the millage needed to finance the year's plans. The plan is reviewed by the City Planning Commission and the City Council before a final mill levy is established by the Council.
The Board is assisted by a six person staff in planning, implementing, and monitoring the programs and services of the District. As needed,
the Board may contract for addition planning, legal or promotional services.
As reguired by legislation, the Board is involved with the city to provide supplemental services to the District. The Board of the District and the City are continually faced with defining where city services stop and District services begin. This is an important guestion because District funds can only be used for services "over and above" those normally provided by the city.
The administrative costs to the District are approximately $250,000 per year. This budget includes funding for the six person staff in addition to any additional services performed for the District on a contractual basis.
FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR THE DISTRICT
To finance the programs of the DDD, a special ad valorem tax on real property is levied in the District. Revenue generated by this tax was $975,000 in 1976 and over $2,000,000 in 1981 (DDD of New Orleans, p. 1). In 1979, DDD was granted authorization by the voters of Orleans Parish to issue limited obligation bonds. These bonds are supported by an allocation of 6.5 mills for debt service. This 6.5 millage will yield an estimated $715,000 in 1981. Proceeds from the bonds have been used for capital improvement projects as well as to leverage other sources of funds used for capital improvements (Brandt, 1981: p. 13).
In New Orleans, local geography and man-made barriers clearly define the limits of downtown. These barriers now form the boundaries of the DDD. No formal attempt is made to vary assessments within the District based on an area's particular needs. The Board and staff of the District are, however, sensitive to inequities that may develop with the services and improvements provided to various areas of the District. In order to maintain support for the DDD's programs, an attempt is made to see that benefits from the District's services and improvements are felt throughout the District.
GOALS OF THE DISTRICT
The Downtown Development District was established to strengthen the central business district of New Orleans. The services and improvements funded by the District are designed to bolster the city's standing as the regional center of business, retail trade, and entertainment (DDD of New Orleans, 1981: p. 3). The District has stated ten long range goals which serve as the basis for its annual plan. These long range goals of the District are:
1. Act as a catalyst to encourage residential full range of population incomes. development for a
2. Encourage design distinction.
3. Provide leadership in the development of a tion, coordination, and advocacy on behalf network for communica-of downtown.
4. Maximize the provision of city services.
5. Provide a full range of acitivities downtown which attract residents and visitors.
6. Eliminate skid row.
Encourage and participate in the redevelopment of the riverfront area.
8. Achieve an integrated transportation system for the CBD.
9. Coordinate implementation of capital improvement projects.
10. Act as a catalyst in public/private partnership to achieve goals.
The similarity between the goals of the District and the general goals outlined in GMP's Technical Report is noteworthy. This similarity indicates an effective line of communication and cooperation existed during the development and implementation of the GMP. As the implementing authority for the GMP, the District is basically working towards the same goals that were developed throughout the GMP process. This process involved gathering input from a variety of sources including the public, GMP committees, downtown business interests, city agencies, and the technical studies of WMRT.
PROGRAMS OF THE DISTRICT
How these goals are translated into programs is what determines the District's impact on downtown. The programs of the District can be divided into service oriented functions and capital improvements. The following are the District's service programs from its 1981 Plan:
1. Additional Public Services: The Board supports the provision of extra police in downtown to maximize visibility and reduce crime. The District's police contingent consists of 21 patrolmen and 2 supervising sargeants.
2. Sanitation Services: Funds provide for extra sanitation services such as six day garbage collection, street cleaning, and emptying of litter receptacles.
3. CBD Shuttle Bus Subsidy: DDD subsidy assists in reducing fares for the shuttle, which provides a link between the retail and office cores with peripheral parking at the Super-dome.
4. Historic Preservation and Housing: The Board contracts with
the Historic Faubourg St. Mary Corporation (a private, non-profit organization), for historic preservation activities. The program involves a revolving fund investment program, educational and advisory services, and a realtors referral service.
5. Cultural Events: These include six weeks of noontime "Brown Bag" concerts, an Arts Festival, theatre, concerts, and art exhibits. The Art Council of Greater New Orleans assists in producing many of these events.
6. Landscape Maintenance: Provides for more frequent maintenance of Canal Street and other public open space in the CBD.
7. Promotions: These include a District newsletter, retail sales promotion, general image development, and cultural activities promotion.
8. Special Projects and Contingency: Supports special projects each year and provides matching funds for projects as need may ari se.
The District has embarked on four capital improvement projects which will rely on limit obligation bonds for funding. These projects are the first to be financed by the District with bonds. The four projects are:
1. Canal Street Improvements: Upgrading of sidewalks with decorative pavers and street furniture.
2. Lafayette Mall: Upgrade Lafayette Street to Mall status (new sidewalks, street furniture, pedestrian amenities), from Loyola Avenue to South Front Street.
3. St. Charles Avenue Improvements: A similar upgrading of St. Charles Avenue will link Canal Street to Lafayette Mall. 4
4. Transit and Information Referral System: This system will disseminate information within the CBD through kiosks, electronic devices, and street banners. 56 sites throughout the CBD will present information on subjects ranging from history and activities to directions and transit schedules.
An examination of DDD's programs shows that the District has been relatively effective in addressing the goals and objectives of both the GMP and the District. The District has been particularly effective by sponsoring activities and promotions, increasing city services, improving the CBD transportation system, implementing capital improvement projects, and developing a network of communication and cooperation through a public/private partnership. The elimination of skid row, encouraging riverfront development, and encouraging residential development in the CBD are three goals the District has not addressed as actively as it has some others. Stricter code enforcement has, however, contributed to eliminating derelict and vacant properties from skid row. Overall, the results of its programs indicates the ODD has been a very successful tool for implementing the goals and objectives first outlined by the GMP.
New Orleans is presently involved in what may be its greatest rejuvenation (DDD of New Orleans, 1981: p. 10). This period has been characterized by large scale, multi-use projects comprised of office, convention, hotel, and retail facilities. In terms of retail sales, downtown is among the national leaders with 15% of all sales in the metropolitan area downtown. Dramatic increases are taking place in office construction and hotel rooms in the CBD. While it is impossible to directly attribute this rejuvenation to the improvements initiated by the District, the following are thought to be contributing factors (DDD of New Orleans, 1981: p. 10):
*Automobi1e traffic flows easier through downtown
^Additional police have increased visibility of downtown security
^Downtown is a cleaner place as a result of supplemental sanitation
^Street lighting has improved throughout the CBD
*Skid row is getting smaller
^Historic sites are being preserved
'Pedestrian improvement and landscaping have made downtown a more attractive place
^Events and entertainment have made downtown a more exciting place
*The development of capital improvements projects will have a positive impact on the downtown environment.
As previously stated, the DDD best serves the CBD as a funding mechanism for downtown improvements and by providing a forum for the discussion and study of downtown issues. Public meetings provide for, and stimulate a high degree of citizen involvement from individuals and groups. In particular, the preparation process for the District's annual plan facilitates involvement from many groups interested in CBD improvements. As a funding mechanism, the District provides needed revenue at a time when federal aid to New Orleans has been severly 1imited.
In addition to generating revenue to be used directly for District programs, DDD has been effective as a mechanism for developing joint, or parallel ventures. An example of this is the DDD's relationship with the Historic Faubourg St. Mary Corporation. Through this joint venture,
far greater resources are available than would be possible without combining efforts. Programs such as this enable the DDD to maximize public benefit through the most efficient use of its revenue.
An issue of concern for the District are property owners' increasing expectations for supplemental services. (Project for Public Spaces, draft, 1982: Appendix A). Property owners have annually made demands for more police and sanitation services in the District. Coupled with this situation is the difficulty the District has had in defining what the extent of its services should be. Since District funds are not meant to be a substitute for city funds, a determination must be made as to what level of service should normally be provided by the City.
One final aspect of the District which plays an active role in its operation are local politics. While the District's staff is structured to avoid political appointment (staff members are also exempt from civil service), positions on the District's Board have become very political issues. This situation is in no way unique to New Orleans and could be considered an inherent aspect of the downtown development district.
This raises the question of how a district could be structured to avoid political issues.
INTRODUCTION TO THE CENTER CITY COMMISSION
In 1976, local legislation was passed creating the Center City Commission of Memphis (CCC). As stated in its enabling legislation, the Commission "represents an official partnership between the city and county governments and the private business community" (Ordinance No.
2432 of the City of Memphis). The Commission has the dual responsibilities of providing management for the operation of the Memphis Mid-America Mall and coordinating the comprehensive redevelopment of the CBD. As mall manager, the Commission regulates commercial and vehicular activity, as well as sponsoring and promoting special events on the Mall. The CCC's role as coordinator of downtown redevelopment involves providing private development assistance, public incentives coordination, marketing research, and information on downtown. In what has been one of its most important contributions to the redevelopment of the CBD, the Commission has assisted in financing the development of a number of projects in downtown Memphis.
BACKGROUND ON THE COMMISSION
Located along the Mississippi River in western Tennessee, Metropolitan Memphis is home to nearly one million metropolitan residents. As an established city, downtown Memphis was hit particularly hard by the relocation of business and activity from the CBD to the suburbs. This loss of activity, experienced by many cities between the 1950's and 1970's, was responsible for downtown Memphis' diminishing role as the regional center for business, commerce, and entertainment. During this
period, little action was taken by the City or the downtown business community in response to this deterioration of the CBD.
As a focus for downtown revitalization, city leaders began working towards the construction of a downtown mall in the early 1970's. The City of Memphis initially sold bonds to finance the construction of the new Mid-America Mall and later created a downtown assessment district to finance a portion of the construction costs. This assessment district, which financed nearly half of the Mall's construction, is known as the Central Business Improvement District (CBID).
The legislation creating the CCC was an amendment to the existing ordinance which established the CBID. It was recognized that the Mall could not stand on its own as the only stimulant for downtown revitalization. In response to this, the downtown business community (with the support of the City and County governments), initiated legislation that would create the Commission (Interview with John Dudas, 6/22/82). As a mechanism designed to promote downtown activity and development, the Center City Commission is part of an on-going plan for downtown redevelopment which began with construction of the Mid-America Mall.
ENABLING LEGISLATION FOR THE COMMISSION
As previously stated, the ordinance creating the Center City Commission was approved as a new article under the existing Central Business Improvement District Ordinance. The new ordinance, passed by the Memphis
City Council, was actively supported by the City and County governments and the downtown business community. The city and county both play an active role in the operation of the Commission. Each contributes revenue to the CCC as well as participating in the functions of the Commission.
As stated in its enabling ordinance, one of the purposes of the Commission is to coordinate the redevelopment of the Central Business Improvement District as the economic, cultural, and governmental heart of Memphis and Shelby County (Ordinance No. 2432, City of Memphis).
The ordinance contains a description of the Commission's powers and functions. The Commission's powers include "all necessary to effectuate the purposes of the Commission" (Ordinance No. 2432). The primary function of the Commission is to advise the City and County on all of its activities and plans so as public activities may be properly coordinated (See Appendix for a copy of the ordinance). The ordinance also stipulates that it shall be the duty of all city and county departments to render any assistance to the Commission that may facilitate the "proper and efficient performance of its duties and functions".
ADMINISTRATION OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission is comprised of eleven members who are responsible for carrying out the functions of the CCC. Members are elected by the City Council and the Shelby County Quarterly Court on the recommendation of the Mayors of the City and the County. The Commission is assisted by a staff of eight who conduct the daily activities of the CCC. Staff salaries and administrative costs account for nearly 60% of the Commission's operating expenses.
As outlined in its enabling ordinance, the Commission maintains a close liaison with city and county administrations, departments, and the Memphis and Shelby County Planning Commission. In addition, the Commission is responsible for submitting an annual budget request for the approval of the city and county. The Commission is also required to publish an annual report in which the year's work is summarized and recommendations for future projects are made.
An additional administrative aspect of the CCC is the Center City Revenue Finance Corporation (CCRFC). The corporation is made up of nine board members appointed by the city and county mayors. CCRFC was established to implement the Tennessee Industrial Development Act. This Act provides tax free revenue bonds and property tax freezes for downtown development. As a branch of the Commission, the CCRFC provides technical assistance in the financing of projects eligible for benefits under the Act.
FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR THE COMMISSION
The CCC receives the majority of its revenue from four different sources. Revenue from programs and the CBID assessment each generated approximately 30% of the Commission's revenue in 1981, while Shelby County and the City of Memphis accounted for another 18% each. Additional revenue is generated from the collection of fees, interest, sales, grants for specific projects, and the CCRFC (Annual Report of the CCC, 1981).
Assessments to property owners in the CBID are based on the percentage of a property's assessed value to the total assessed value of property in the District. It is the responsibility of the Commission to submit the amount of revenue it will need from the CBID assessment as part of its annual budget request. The amount of the assessment to be levied on the District is then given final approval by the City Council.
A property's assessment is determined by multiplying its percentage of assessed value by the District's total assessment.
The assessment is levied on a uniform basis throughout the CBID.
The nature of the Commission's programs is such that benefits are realized equitably throughout the District (Interview with Dudas, 7/1/82). To date, property owners have not yet made any objections over this method of assessing.
Contributions from Memphis and Shelby County are taken from the general operating funds of each government. Shelby County's contribution to the District, whose programs are designed almost exclusively for the benefit of the CBID, is justified by the structure of the Commission.
The enabling legislation for the CCC was written to include the County as an active participant in the operation of the District. The amount of the contributions from the City and County are determined annually based on the Commission's budget request.
GOALS OF THE COMMISSION
The CCC has not adopted a formal set of long-range goals and objectives
to serve as a guide for its programs. The Commission's programs are, however, designed to address the goals and objectives defined in its enabling ordinance. As outlined in its legislation, the purpose of the Commission is to:
...represent an official partnership between city and county government and the private business community. The Commission shall manage and coordinate the comprehensive and coordinated redevelopment of the Central Business District as the economic, governmental, and cultural heart of Memphis and Shelby County...
The Commission addresses this objective through a variety of programs and events aimed at promoting the Mid-America Mall and the CBID.
Objectives of the CCC are established on an annual basis. These objectives outline how specific projects will address general areas of concern. The following goals have been derived from the Commission's FY '82 Objectives.
I. Goal Strengthen downtown Memphis as the regional center of government, commerce, culture, and entertainment.
1. Implement the recommendations of Parking Plan and assist in the development of additional parking spaces.
2. Continue the promotion of CBID events as well as the activties of other organizations.
3. Improve the appearance of downtown by increased landscaping on the Mall and adjoining streets, controlling litter, utilizing or eliminating vacant buildings, improving Mall maintenance, and developing a downtown sign ordinance. 4
4. Promote and expand the recreational, cultural, and entertainment facilities downtown.
5. Support and provide assistance to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
6. Continue marketing efforts to improve retail trade.
II. Goal Promote private development in the CBID.
Objectives 1. Assist in feasibility studies of the
potential need for new hotels, office, and retail space.
2. Develop new forms of creative financing and assist in securing financing for new projects.
3. Identify potential buildings for renovation.
4. Maintain contact with realtors and developers.
III. Goal Improve the public transportation network.
Objectives 1. Continue involvement in the Memphis
Area Transit Authority's planning process.
IV. Goal Improve and promote the development of residential communities in the CBID.
Objectives 1. Explore new financing methods.
2. Encourage home ownership.
3. Support public renovation of the city's housing stock.
4. Assist in developing a housing strategy at the neighborhood level.
V. Goal Participate in the planning and development of public improvements.
Objectives 1. Develop a streetscape plan.
2. Assist in obtaining federal, state and local funding for projects. 3
3. Complete and assist in the implementation of the Center City/Riverfront Plan.
Serve as a unified voice for downtown interests.
Objectives 1. Continue the operation of the "Downtown
2. Provide an information network through the publication of newsletters, CCC reports, and press releases.
The Commission's involvement with these issues varies greatly.
While priorities are not formally established, the programs of the CCC indicate efforts are concentrated on three main areas. These are economic development, marketing downtown, and the promotion of special events.
PROGRAMS OF THE COMMISSION
The Commission's emphasis on economic development, marketing, and promotion are consistent with the CCC's purpose as outlined in its legislation. These programs are closely related, and if implemented properly will feed on each others success. The following is a synopsis of programs from each of these areas (Center City Commission Annual Report, 1981).
The Commission has found special events to be an effective means of drawing people downtown. Events have traditionally focused around local and national entertainment. The production of these events are intended to promote downtown and exhibit the features it has to offer. In 1981, six major events were produced by the Commission.
Symphony In The Square Three noon-time concerts in the Court
Square by the Memphis Little Symphony.
Downtown Dream Machine A seventeen day run of the world premiere of the original musical, Life on the Mississippi. Nightly performances were attended by approximately 5,000 people.
Otrabanda The River Raft Review presented two shows on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Memphis Music Heritage Festival Approximately 150,000 people attended two days of concerts staged along the Mid-America Mall.
The four stages were complemented by 50 craft exhibits and 15 food booths.
Oktoberfest This three day festival featured music, a sidewalk cafe, an arts and crafts marketplace, and a road race.
Christmas in the City A month long promotion, this event was highlighted by the lighting of a 45-foot Christmas tree, music, and traditional holiday season events.
The Center City Revenue Finance Corporation is the focus of the CCC's economic development efforts. The CCFRC has assisted in the financing of many development and redevelopment projects in downtown Memphis. Financial assistance offered to developers comes in the form of tax-free revenue bonds and property tax freezes.
A recent amendment to the Tennessee Industrial Development Act allows for these development incentives. It is the responsibility of the CCRFC to implement the programs established under the Act. Specific types of developments eligible for assistance include office and commercial space, hotels, and apartments. Financing a project with tax-free revenue bonds offers a developer interest rates four to five percentage points below conventional financing. A fifteen year property tax freeze is available for apartment, office, and commercial development, while a ten year freeze is available for hotel projects.
The CCC's 1981 Annual Report includes a list of thirty-one private development projects that have recently been completed, are under construe tion, or are in the planning stages. These projects represent nearly $100 million in private investment. Of the thirty-one developments listed, twenty-five have completed assembling their financing. Eighteen of these have participated with the CCRFC. This level of participation would indiciate the efforts of the Commission (through the CCRFC), have been successful in stimulating development in downtown Memphis.
The Commission views marketing as an integral part of the revitalization of downtown. Programs are designed to promote the many aspects of downtown in an effort to attract visitors, national corporations, and developers to downtown Memphis. The following are programs initiated by the Commission in 1981:
Downtown Open Flouse To introduce the public to revitalization efforts that have taken place in Memphis, the Commission coordinated a series of tours with the developers of renovated buildings. Over 1,000 people participated in this program.
Audio-Visual Presentation Available for presentation to community organizations, llDowntown~Memphis: A Living Thing", is a slide/tape presentation highlighting the city's amenities.
Development Marketing The Commission produced a development marketing packet which was distributed to officials of Fortune 500 companies. The package focuses on the amenities of Memphis and describes sites ready for development in the downtown area. The purpose of this packet is to attract national corporations to locate offices in Memphis.
Investment Tax Credit Seminar This seminar explained the advantages available to investors and developers for renovating older or historic structures.
Retail Marketing This program involved a number of efforts aimed at improving both the retail trade and the variety of stores downtown
Hot1ine The CCC's staff operated a telephone "Hotline" as a clearinghouse on information about downtown.
As an organization formed to coordinate the revitalization of downtown Memphis, the Center City Commission has been particularly effective in assisting private development and drawing people downtown. CCRFC is the Commission's primary vehicle for assisting private development through the implementation of the Tennessee Industrial Development Act. Through the Commission's production of special events, an increasing number of people have been attracted downtown. These two programs along with downtown marketing efforts, have been the Commission's main contributions to the revitalization of downtown Memphis.
Since its inception in 1977, the CCC has become increasingly active in downtown issues. Originally involved in economic development, marketing, and promotion, the Commission is now dealing with issues such as housing, transportation, parking, and public improvements. It has now become a concern of the staff that the Commission may have to narrow its scope if it is to maintain its present level of service to the CBID (Interview with Dudas, 7/30/82).
One area the Commission would welcome adding to its program is maintenance of the Mid-America Mall (Interview with Dudas, 6/30/82). At present, mall maintenance is paid for by the City's general fund and is done by the Parks Department. There is a general feeling of dissatisfac-
tion with the maintenance being done now. The Commission would like one authority to oversee existing service, or through an increase in the CBID assessment, provide supplemental maintenance services on the Mall.
The CCC is in a unique position whereby it is responsible for revitalization in the CBID as well as managing the Mid-America Mall.
The Commission has the opportunity to coordinate Mall activities along with downtown promotions. This dual responsibility allows for the implementation of a comprehensive program of Mall and CBID promotions. Regardless of whether a program is staged on the Mall or throughout downtown, benefits will be felt throughout the CBID (Interview with Dudas, 6/30/82).
INTRODUCTION TO THE DOWNTOWN COMMITTEE OF SYRACUSE, INC.
Established in 1975, the Downtown Committee (DTC) provides administrative services to the Downtown Special Benefit District established by the City of Syracuse. The benefit district was created for "the purpose of undertaking, developing, constructing, operating, financing, and maintaining certain special improvements within the district" (Chapter 38 of the Revised General Ordinance of the City of Syracuse, p. 1). Financed by assessments levied on property owners within the District, the programs implemented by the DTC are designed to have a direct impact on the economic viability and attractiveness of downtown Syracuse. The Committee's programs for 1981 included public information, economic development, environmental maintenance, security, parking, and sponsoring special events.
BACKGROUND ON THE SPECIAL BENEFIT DISTRICT
The Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Onondaga County (MDA), provided the initiative for establishing a special benefit district. Faced with increasing competition from suburban shopping centers and the relocation of businesses away from downtown, business leaders recognized the need for downtown improvements. It was in the mid-seventies when MDA, acting as the voice of the downtown business community, approached the city requesting improvements for the downtown area. The city, however, was unable to provide any increases in services or capital improvements due to fiscal constraints. Recognizing the need for improvements, the city and MDA agreed to work towards establishing
an improvement district as a mechanism for financing and implementing downtown improvements.
With the support of the city, MDA began efforts toward establishing a special benefit district for downtown. Preliminary research and the costs of drafting legislation were provided by MDA. The first step in the approval process was at the state level. An act authorizing Syracuse to establish a special assessment district was passed by the New York Legislature in the spring of 1975. Less than three months later the City of Syracuse approved an ordinance establishing the Downtown Special Assessment District.
The entire approval process took approximately one year. Enacting legislation required neither a city-wide referendum nor approval from property owners in the district. The MDA organized various groups to provide input throughout the entire process. Support for the initiative was so strong that if a vote had been required, the district would still have been established (Interview with Irwin Davis, 8/30/82).
THE METROPOLITAN DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION OF SYRACUSE AND ONONDAGA COUNTY
MDA has played an active role in the development of the Syracuse area for more than twenty years. Founded in 1959 as a private, non-profit organization, MDA is "dedicated to applying the collective talents of its members and staff for the benefit of Syracuse and all of central New York" (MDA, 20/20 Plus: p. 1). As the principle private sector vehicle for researching, planning, and implementing urban development projects,
MDA has been involved in housing, community development, economic development, and transportation issues. Because of this experience, and its established relationships with government officials and community organizations, the City of Syracuse requested that MDA provide administrative services for the assessment district. On this request, MDA established the Downtown Committee, Inc. to direct the District's course of action.
ENABLING LEGISLATION FOR THE DOWNTOWN BENEFIT DISTRICT
As previously stated, legislative action was necessary at the state and local level before a benefit district could be established. MDA was largely responsible for writing both pieces of legislation, which are nearly identical in content (copies of both the state and local legislation are found in the Appendix). Legislation contains an extensive list of the District's powers, responsibilities of the Committee, and provisions for establishing a "not for profit" corporation. The District's bonding and eminent domain authorities are also detailed. As required by the State legislation, the local ordinance also includes a legal description of the area comprising the District.
THE DOWNTOWN COMMITTEE OF SYRACUSE, INC.
The programs of the DTC are established by a fifteen member Board of Directors that is appointed by the mayor. As required by legislation, eleven of the fifteen board members must be tax payers (or their agents) within the District. The staff of the DTC assists the Board in implement-
ing the District's programs. Administrative expenses of the DTC accounted for 23% of the District's total budget in 1981 (DTC, Annual Report,
The Board of the DTC is responsible for making recommendations to the city concerning capital improvements and matters essential to the successful operation of the District. In addition, the Committee is required to submit an annual budget request to the city. The budget request includes an estimate of the costs for the District's programs, as well as recommendations of sources of revenue other than the District's special assessment. After the budget proposal has been approved, the Commissioner of Assessment of the city is responsible for setting forth assessments on benefited properties in the District.
FUNDING MECHANISMS OF THE DISTRICT
The primary source of revenue for the Committee is the special assessment levied on district property owners. 650 property owners within the District were assessed a total of $419,000 in 1980 (Project for Public Spaces, Draft, 1982: Appendix A). The Committee is also an occasional recipient of private donations or grants. In 1981, the DTC received a grant of $27,000 from the City's Department of Community Development. The money was to be used for the Committee's economic development programs.
Taxes in the District are assessed based on a formula of assessed property value and front footage. For each of the 650 parcels in the
district, a percentage share of the District's total value and total frontage is determined. This factor is then weighed depending on which zone of benefit the property is in. As permitted by legislation, the DTC has two zones of benefit within the District. These zones are based on the degree of benefit that is expected to result from the DTC's programs.
GOALS OF THE COMMITTEE
It is the Downtown Committee's objective to initiate short-range, tangible programs for the downtown area. These programs are designed to improve the economic, social, and physical vitality of downtown. The Committee's programs address this objective through parking, environmental maintenance, public information, economic development, activity, and security programs.
The programs of the Committee are designed to compliment the projects undertaken by its affiliate, the Metropolitan Development Association.
While the DTC focuses on strictly downtown issues, MDA addresses issues on a metropolitan and regional scale. MDA has been involved in acquiring land for private development, organizing several non-profit corporations, promoting the region by providing developers and corporations with information on the Syracuse area, and working with various public agencies on planning and economic development projects. As a part of the MDA's overall effort, it is the role of the DTC to serve as the primary "vehicle" for revitalizing downtown Syracuse.
The DTC does not operate under a formally adopted set of goals and objectives. By its own admission, the Committee does very little writing, preferring to put its efforts toward initiating and operating programs (Interview with Davis, 6/30/82). The programs of the DTC are designed to improve the economic and social vitality of downtown. The following goals and objectives have been derived from the 1981 programs of the Committee:
Goal Present a positive image of downtown Syracuse.
Objectives 1. Continue planning and promotion of
2. Provide information on downtown and downtown events to the public.
Goal Promote and improve retail sales in downtown.
Objectives 1. Increase accessibility to downtown by
subsidizing parking and shuttle bus service.
2. Publish guides and directories of downtown.
Goal Continue efforts toward improving the economic health of
Objectives - 1. Actively solicit new business.
2. Provide assistance to existing businesses.
3. Perform related planning, research, and implementation of activities.
Goal Improve the maintenance and appearance of downtown Syracuse.
Objectives - 1. Encourage compliance with city ordinances.
2. Supplement city services with additional maintenance programs.
3. Support and initiate visual art as a part of the downtown environment.
Improve the security and atmosphere of downtown.
Objectives - 1. Continue funding extra police personnel
to patrol downtown.
2. Develop a program with city and state government to deal with street people".
PROGRAMS OF THE DTC
The Committee's programs for 1981 can be divided into the five categories of public information (including events and promotions), economic development, environmental maintenance, security, and parking. These programs are all designed to have a direct and immediate impact on downtown. The following is a synopsis of Committee programs as reported in the DTC 1981 Annual Report.
The Public Information Program consisted of three programs, all aimed at promoting and presenting a positive image of downtown Syracuse. These programs are:
Events in 1981 included the Weekly Farmers Market, a Festival and Arts Fair, a Halloween Costume Contest, and a month-long Christmas Program. The DTC also provided Christmas decorations for downtown streets and Hanover Square.
Coordination With Other Organizations
The DTC, along with a Steering Committee of retailers, sponsored several retail promotions. These included coordinating and advertising sales, initiating free shuttle bus service from the University area to downtown, commissioning a poster of Syracuse, and sponsoring a board
game, "All About Syracuse". The staff of the committee also provided services to Uptowners of Syracuse, a volunteers organization dedicated to enriching downtown Syracuse.
The Committee utilizes a number of means to provide information on downtown to the public. A telephone events line provides information on downtown cultural, social, and recreational events. This was complimented by a brochure detailing Committee programs, a monthly newsletter, a retail and "places of interest" directory, and a comprehensive events calendar. All information services were free of charge.
The goal of the Economic Development Program is an economically healthy downtown. In 1981, major assistance to this program came when the DTC was the recipient of a $27,000 grant from the City's Department of Community Development to support these efforts. The Committee provided the following programs in 1981:
Public and Private Investment
The Committee is involved in an on-going search to attract new investment to Syracuse. The Committee has been actively involved in the planning of a development that will provide 200,000 square feet of office space, 125,000 square feet of commercial space, and over 1,000 new jobs. Working with MDA and the City, the Committee researched much of the data necessary for the project proposal. The Committee also facilitated the sale of the Syracuse Mall and its subsequent conversion from retail to office use.
The DTC was instrumental in the creation of an employer-supported child care facility. Working with the Onondaga County Child Care Council, the Committee presented a proposal to downtown employers. Several employers contributed to the center's start-up costs and plans for a second facility are underway.
The DTC has provided a wide range of assistance to downtown merchants. The Committee assisted in the relocation of displaced Syracuse Mall merchants, and provided financial, as well as design assistance to
downtown businesses. A survey of downtown employee shopping was done by the DTC and will be used as a resource for downtown planning. The staff of the Committee has also worked closely with neighborhood merchant associ ati ons.
As a joint effort of the Committee, City, and County, a new Downtown Master Plan is being developed. The purpose of the plan is to develop a concensus among the public and private sectors about the direction to be followed in the revitalization of downtown.
The Committee is active in marketing downtown properties. 1981 publications were The Annual Catalog of Available Downtown Buildings, "BLDGS" a quarterly publication of available properties, and The Catalog of Vacant Downtown Sites
The DTC is committed to the belief that a clean and attractive environment is a key factor in attracting people to downtown Syracuse. In response to this, the Committee has initiated a number of programs designed to improve the appearance of downtown. These are:
The DTC feels environmental maintenance is the combined responsibility of property owners, tenants, and the City. As such, the Committee encourages compliance with city ordinances and serves as a go-between with businesses and the City. The Committee compliments the efforts of the City-owners-tenants with its own maintenance crew. This crew provides cleaning and snow removal at areas of high pedestrian activity, areas where responsibilities are not clearly defined, and where there are vacant properties.
In an effort to improve the visual appearance of downtown, the Committee sponsored four wall murals by a local artist group. In conjunction with the City Parks Department, the DTC provided fifty-five planters that were positioned on downtown streets.
The Committee is actively involved in a number of efforts to support its environmental programs for downtown. One of these is the Mayor's Operations Committee which provides a forum to air complaints involving city services. The Committee also supports the Keep America Beautiful Program.
While crime statistics have shown downtown Syracuse to be relatively safe, the Committee is concerned with the public's belief that downtown areas are not safe. The DTC feels the presence of "street people" are the main contributors to this misconception and have hired additional police to patrol areas where they tend to congregate. The Committee also works with city and state governments in an effort to develop legislation to deal with this problem. In addition, the Committee provides increased police security during the holiday season.
In response to the public's concern over the high cost of parking, the DTC initiated a free parking program in 1976. The program provided three hours of free parking on Saturdays. After what initially appeared to be a success, participation declined steadily until 1981 when the program was terminated.
Established to provide administrative services for the City's
Special Benefit Assessment District, the Downtown Committee is respons-
ible for determining the District's course of action. The Committee has implemented a number of programs designed to have a direct impact on the economic vitality and attractiveness of downtown. The programs the Committee has initiated in response to this objective involve economic development, public information, security, parking, environmental maintenance, and the sponsoring of spcial events. It is the combined impact of these programs that will have the greatest affect on downtown Syracuse.
The goal of the Committee is to implement effective, short-term programs for downtown. An analysis of Committee programs show the actions of the DTC to be consistent with this goal. The majority of the Committee's programs bring about immediate results. The effectiveness of programs has varied, as evident by the success of the child care center and the ultimate failure of the parking program.
Two of the District's authorities which have not been utilized include the use of eminent domain and the authority to issue and sell bonds. These powers allow the DTC the potential to initiate significant downtown improvements. The use of such authority, however, would be contrary to the Committee's goal of implementing short-term programs with immediate affects. The Committee has no plans to use these powers in the future, stating they were included in legislation only to give the District latitude (Interview with Davis, 6/30/82).
The DTC was established as a part of the MDA, the organization largely responsible for implementing the Benefit Assessment District.
The MDA is well regarded in the Syracuse area, having been active for over twenty years. The Committee's relationship with the MDA has undoubtedly played a major part in its role as the administrator of the District. The programs of each organization are inter-related, and are used to the benefit of both the MDA and the DTC (Interview with Davis, 6/30/83).
THE CASE STUDIES
"Summary of Case Studies"
While all three of the development districts studied were established to initiate downtown improvements, differences are seen in why they were created, how they function, and the programs they implement. This chapter will highlight some of the differences and similarities evident among these three cases. The summary will be made with respect to the following: 1) the purpose of the district; 2) the authority, powers and funding mechanisms of the district; 3) the district's goals and programs; and 4) administrative aspects of the district's operation.
As stated in the introduction to the case studies, the purpose of this research is to provide a better understanding of how development districts function. In addition, this information will be used to formulate a set of criteria thought necessary for the implementation of these development districts. These criteria, which will provide the basis for this study, include the following:
1. A clearly defined need for the district must be evident.
2. The district must have the support of those affected --the downtown business community and the local government.
3. A public/private partnership must form the basis for the operation of the district.
4. There must be appropriate legislation allowing for the creation of the district, including sufficient powers, authorities, and funding mechanisms.
Further discussion of these criteria are presented in this chapter following the summary of the case studies.
SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDIES
This summary has been divided into four sections. The analysis will compare and contrast relevant aspects of the development districts for each section.
The Purpose of the District The need for some type of mechanism to initiate and finance downtown improvements was evident in each of the cities studied. While the economy of downtown New Orleans was strong, the city was lacking resources for capital improvements as well as any means for managing or directing downtown growth. A two year Growth Management Program, whose recommendations called for establishing the Downtown Development District, addressed both of these deficiencies.
The downtowns of Memphis and Syracuse had experienced a steady decline in activity and vitality. In these cities, development districts were established as a mechanism to revitalize the downtown area. This is evident by the emphasis placed on economic development by the Center City Commission and, to a lesser degree, the Downtown Committee.
The downtown business community played a major role in establishing each development district. All three programs had the backing of local governments as well. In Memphis and Syracuse, the need for a development district was evident by the deterioration of the CBD. In New Orleans, the DDD was substantiated by the finding of a growth management study.
The implementation process in New Orleans, where the need did not arise from economic distress, contrasts sharply with Memphis and Syracuse.
The DDD was the result of over two years of study that involved active citizen participation. Implementation of the CCC and the DTC, in cities with greater economic problems, was a much faster process.
Powers, Authorities, and Funding Mechanisms of the Districts. The powers and authorities of the districts are defined by legislation (See Appendix for copies of legislation). In each case, powers are broad enough to provide the districts with the tools necessary to implement their respective programs. These powers are similar to those of a corporation. The CCC has the dual responsibility of coordinating revitalization efforts as well as managing the Mid-America Mall. However, as mall manager, the Commission is not involved in the maintenance. While it has the authority to issue bonds, and the power of eminent domain, the DTC has no plans to use them. As well as utilizing its authority to issue limited obligation bonds, the DDD has developed parallel programs with other corporations to maximize public benefits.
Each of the development districts rely predominantly on revenue generated from assessments to finance their programs. In Memphis, however, the CCC receives a considerable amount of its funding directly from city and county governments. The DDD of New Orleans has used its bonding authority to finance capital improvement projects. Assessments in each district are determined annually by city governments. This determination is based largely on the district's budget request, thereby creating a situation where a close working relationship between the district and city hall is necessary.
Goals and Programs of the Districts. Generally speaking, the goals
of these development districts are to strengthen, improve, and/or revitalize their central business districts. While the districts share this common goal, each program differs in how they address this issue. The particular circumstances concerning the goals and programs of each district are summarized as follows:
New Orleans (ODD)
The Downtown Development District of New Orleans relies on ten long range goals and objectives which serve as the basis for its annual plan.
The goals of the District, which are very similar to those outlined in the City's Growth Management Study, are addressed by programs designed to bolster the city's standing as the regional center of business, retail trade, and entertainment.
The programs of the ODD can be divided into service oriented functions and capital improvements. Services are highlighted by supplemental city services (police, sanitation, and transportation), special studies, and the promotion of events and activities. The District's capital improvement projects, which are funded by limited obligation bonds, include improvements to three downtown streets and the implementation of a transit and information referral system.
The purpose of the Center City Commission, as defined in its enabling
legislation, calls for the CCC to serve as the official partnership
between government and private business, manage the Mid-America Mall, and coordinate the revitalization of the CBID. The Commission addresses these objectives through a variety of programs aimed at re-establishing downtown as the economic, governmental, and cultural heart of Memphis. Other than the purposes outlined in its legislation, the CCC has not adopted a long-range set of goals or objectives.
Economic development, marketing, and promotion are the Commission's three main program areas. As the management entity for the Mall and the coordinator of downtown revitalization, the CCC has been able to initiate mutually beneficial programs. The nature of these three programs also complement one another. Together, they have been major contributors to the revitalization of downtown Memphis.
As is the case in Memphis, the Downtown Committee has not established a formal set of goals or objectives. Legislation defines the purpose of the District as a mechanism for initiating special downtown improvements to improve the economic, social, and physical vitality of downtown. The Committee addresses this objective with short-term programs designed to have a direct and immediate impact on downtown.
Programs of the Committee include parking, environmental maintenance, public information, economic development, activities and events, and security. As the primary vehicle for revitalizing the CBD, the Committee relies on its affiliation with the MDA in implementing the programs of
the special assessment district. The two organizations' relationship allows for the integration of programs to produce maximum benefits.
Administrative Aspects of the Districts. The administration of each district is handled by a board of directors, along with an operations staff. As administrators of the district, the board and staff are responsible for implementing programs and determining future plans. The implementation and planning of district programs are done in cooperation with local governments and with the participation of downtown interests.
The districts then, serve as a liaison between the public and private sectors. This public/private framework forms the basis on which these development districts operate.
The primary responsibility of the board of the DDD in New Orleans is to prepare and implement the District's annual plan. In addition to this, the DDD provides a forum for the discussion of downtown issues and facilitates the participation of both the public and private sectors in the preparation of its annual plan.
In Syracuse, the benefit district was initiated, and is administered by MDA. As the principal private sector vehicle for researching, planning, and implementing urban development projects in the Syracuse area, MDA established the Downtown Committee to provide the district with administrative services. As a private/non-profit organization, the MDA (and DTC), acts as a partner with public and private organizations in the development of the city and region.
As outlined in its enabling legislation, one of the functions of the CCC of Memphis is to serve as the official partnership between the private business community and government. The CCC fulfills this responsibility through a variety of programs aimed at revitalizing downtown Memphis. As an officially recognized partner, the CCC has played an active role in bringing the public and private sectors together to stimulate economic development.
CRITERIA FOR IMPLEMENTATION
There are a number of factors which contribute to the successful implementation of a downtown development district. Many of these factors would vary from city to city depending on the particular circumstances of each case. Based on information provided by the case studies, a number of factors were found to be significant to the implementation of the districts. These factors are expressed as criteria which will provide the basis for the Denver analysis. It is felt that these criteria must be addressed if a district is to be established. Having been found in each of the districts studied, the issues addressed by the criteria are felt to be applicable to the implementation of a downtown development district regardless of where it may be. The criteria then, to be used when evaluating the likelihood of establishing a development district in Denver consists of the following:
Need for the District. If the need for a development district is not clearly established, it is doubtful any action will be taken toward establishing one. For this reason, it is necessary that the need for a
district be established. As shown by the three districts studied, need can be demonstrated in two different ways. The basic issue in establishing need involves identifying the problems affecting downtown and determining whether a development district can adequately address them.
Support for the District. It is unlikely a development district could be established without the support of both the local government and the downtown business community. Downtown property owners (and tenants) pay for the services of a district and also share in the majority of its benefits. Without the support and initiative of downtown interests, there would be little discussion (much less action) toward establishing a district.
Ultimately, the decision to establish a development district comes from the local government. The support of city hall, (the mayor's office and the city council), is imperative if legislation is to be passed. It should also be noted that if support for the district is not strong from the downtown community, it would not be a politically wise move for a city government to establish a district. It is essential that the district have the support of both sectors before it is establi shed.
Public/Private Framework. The downtown development district brings together the public and private sectors to work towards improving downtown. Providing a framework for this partnership is one of the inherent responsibilities of the district. This public/private partnership provides the basis for the district's operation. The district must facilitate this
partnership by fostering coordination and cooperation between the two sectors.
Legislation for the District. Before a development district can be established, legislation must be in place granting a city the authority to do so. This prerequisite is not as obvious as it may appear. In order to successfully implement its programs, enabling legislation must allow a district adequate authority and funding. Exactly what types of authorities and funding mechanisms will be required by the district will depend on its programs. If authorities and funding mechanisms are inadequate, the impact a district can have on downtown will be severely 1imi ted.
The four criteria were derived from the information provided by the case studies. The criteria will now provide the basis on which existing conditions in Denver will be evaluated. This analysis is to determine if conditions in Denver would facilitate the implementation of a development district. The analysis will be made with respect to the four criteria that have been presented in this chapter.