Downtown Olympia is a true gem, offering community members and visitors alike the opportunity to have positive experiences that are unique and authentic to our downtown. As Downtown Olympia continues to grow and evolve, significant resources are necessary to support a vibrant urban environment that people are excited to live in, work in, and visit.
Purpose of the DID
The Downtown Improvement District (DID) is a PROPOSED private sector funding mechanism designed to help support the downtown environment with services financed by a self-initiated assessment paid by downtown property owners, requiring approval of the Olympia City Council. These services would be provided exclusively within the district and are an enhancement to – rather than a replacement of – those already provided by the City.
DIDs are common tools. There are over 1,000 DIDs across North America, many concentrated in downtown areas. Virtually every other urban area in the West is served by a DID charged with managing and marketing downtown. In Washington, there are DIDs in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Yakima, and Spokane. They are also common in state capitals such as Sacramento, Boise, and Madison, to name a few.
The DID would provide services as determined by its board of directors (made up of property owners and business operators within the DID). The board could adjust services on an annual basis as needs and priorities change. Initial services would fall within the following two main categories:
Clean, Safe and Beautiful Services
Concentrating on downtown’s streetscape, the DID would complement existing City maintenance efforts, providing services that may include: comprehensive sidewalk sweeping, scrubbing, and power washing; litter and graffiti removal; and landscaping.
Focusing on the downtown experience, an ambassador-style program would have the ability to offer visitors information and insights while also providing street-dependent individuals outreach and connection to local service providers.
Assisting Small Business
The DID would provide resources to assist in the success of small businesses downtown. Programming could include enhanced marketing efforts, new and expanded special events, small business training, and other targeted special projects.
The DID would be administered by an existing non-profit, the Olympia Downtown Alliance. This partnership would allow the DID to leverage staffing, services, and programming already managed by the Alliance.