The Geneva Business Improvement District (GBID) celebrates its 35th anniversary November 19th, and thanks the long list of members, board of directors, staff and advisers that has ensured continuous service for New York State’s second oldest chartered downtown organization.
The GBID received its formal federal government tax entity approval on this date in 1985. The initial goal was to create a “self-taxing entity” that would help make Geneva a more desirable place to work and visit at a time of particular challenge. The convening group was responding to difficult economic times, especially for American urban centers. There are currently more than 1,500 BIDS nationwide with more than 75 in New York City alone. BIDS provide an important tool for cities to revitalize, improve themselves and maximize economic development for the betterment of the community.
The Geneva BID, as all BIDs, are funded through an assessment of property in the district, and all funds stay within the district. Additional money is raised through special events like Cruisin’ Night (launched in 1999) and Light Up Geneva Auction (launched in 1995). The Geneva BID leverages these resources to deliver important services, projects and programs the City of Geneva does not – like Christmas lights and flowers, and provides ongoing maintenance (watering, snow removal, trash collection, etc.). The City of Geneva has historically provided grant funding to the BID, but we are not part of the city structure, and our employees are not city employees.
The BID does not provide direct grants or loans, but we do work with the City of Geneva to maximize the programs they administer. BID does promote downtown properties and businesses through a range of channels, including earned media, social media, and three new tourism kiosks stationed around downtown.
Though the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce and the Geneva BID both provide services and support to local businesses, there are significant differences between the two organizations. Whereas the BID receives most of its financing through the assessment and is committed totally to downtown Geneva, the Chamber is a member-based organization representing organizations in and outside Geneva. However, when a new business opens downtown we partner with the Geneva Chamber to support and nurture it.
In the winter, the BID is responsible for snow and ice removal, salting crosswalks and sidewalks. It’s also responsible for litter and trash removal, and event set up. Holiday decorations on more than 200 light posts are set up and maintained by BID; in warm weather, more than 75 planters and numerous other floral areas are placed and maintained.
A special thank you to our current membership, the City of Geneva for its continued support, and our board of directors and staff who ensure downtown Geneva remains beautiful and thriving, even amid these challenging times.