Tacoma BIA: Contract renewed, boundary expanded

Tacoma City Council adopted two ordinances this week related to the downtown Tacoma Business Improvement Area (BIA).

The BIA, which was established in 1988, provides services such as security patrols on bicycles; support for the Tacoma Police Department; coordination of downtown security officers; an e-mail alert system for downtown property owners and managers; pressure washing, sweeping, and cleaning of sidewalks and other common areas; installation of street bannersgraffiti removal; providing timely information for potential investors; and overseeing Web sites and regular print publications that promote downtown Tacoma.

BIA services are paid for through property assessments self-imposed by property owners within an 84-block area that runs from South 7th Street to South 21st Street and ‘A’ Street west to Court ‘D.’

The first ordinance adopted Tuesday renews the City of Tacoma’s agreement with the BIA for the 27th year beginning on May 1, 2014 and through April 30, 2015. During the first reading of the ordinance last month, City of Tacoma staff reported the 2014 BIA budget is $935,520: 51 per cent ($487,000) will be spent on security; 32 per cent ($304,100) will be spent on maintenance; 10 per cent ($98,420) will be spent on administration; and seven per cent ($64,000) will be spent on community relations. BIA revenue for 2014 includes $829,365 (87 per cent) from property assessments, and $124,155 (13 per cent) in reserve funds.

The second ordinance adopted Tuesday expands the BIA‘s boundaries to include the future McMenamin’s Elks Lodge brewery and hotel. Washington State law allows the BIA footprint to be expanded, but only after more than 50 per cent of property owners within the proposed area of expansion show their support, and after a public hearing is scheduled. According to City of Tacoma staff, McMenamin’s, which owns four parcels of land (most notably, the former Elks Lodge at 565 Broadway) within the proposed expansion area, has asked to participate in the downtown Tacoma BIA.

“I believe the BIA program has worked very effectively for our city,” said Tacoma City Councilmember Robert Thoms during the council meeting Tuesday. “Everyone that I have had the opportunity to work with is very pleased with the outcomes and the collaboration of the BIA. I look forward to working with them in the future. I look forward to additional expansions when and if the need arises.”

To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of downtown Tacoma’s Business Improvement Area, click on the following links: