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Plans For 'Improvement District' Hit A Snag

The planned Boston Improvement District. (Courtesy of the Downtown Crossing Partnership)

The planned Boston Improvement District, click to enlarge. (Courtesy of the Downtown Crossing Partnership)

As part of the plan to revitalize Boston’s Downtown Crossing, Mayor Tom Menino asked area businesses to contribute to a fund that would provide additional services and label the neighborhood an “improvement district.” Now, some businesses have refused to contribute to the voluntary fund.

More than 80 percent of property owners in Downtown Crossing have agreed to the fees for extra services, but some businesses are still holding out.

Radio Boston’s Adam Ragusea joins us to take a look at the plans for improving Downtown Crossing.


  • Rosemarie Sansone, executive director, Downtown Crossing Partnership
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  • Roberto

    Time’s change; prop owners may be feeling much less flush. Isn’t Tishman belly-up on big props in NYC? If so, they are just tightening their belt? Also, in the Globe, Steve K is sour grapes about a height restriction. THose are key players who would make/break the BID fund…


    Sadly, a good idea just died wiht the Mayor’s harsh rhetoric. Why didn’t the Mayor say just what your guest did — City services cannot do it all, and he (TM) needs the collaboration of everyone? Why be bitter and call non-payers “selfish”?

    Would not he be more persuasive to describe the key steps he/team executed to build the program, that he understands there are some financial pressures right now, but that the non-contributors will make or break this great idea. If he has negotiated behind the scenes, and struck out, then state their reasons for backing off.

    And also make sure public knows TM has no alternatives — he needs BPD to detail cops to serious crime neighborhoods, DPW is already too stretched and staffing will get lighter if economy continues to sink, etc. Put that sort of spin on it; how BID is proven success elsewhere, and keep cajoling those he needs to reach the funding level to estab. bare-bones BID. Start with something, and build on its successes.

  • Irene

    I don’t frequent downtown crossing because there are not very many nice stores. Also, there are a lot of unsavory people that hang out there. Having people to hand out maps is not going to make the trip worth my while.

    I think it’s the city’s job to clean the streets and graffiti. They also continue to allow the developer who demolished filene’s to leave a great big gaping hole in the ground. That’s a real eyesore!

  • Alex Gershaw

    They claim the BID is for “supplemental services.” But when you ask for money for certain business and the ones who set up the district are the ones that get adequate policing and those outside the district do not, doesn’t this amount to paying for police and fire, and those who pay for it get the services? Wouldn’t this be, perhaps unconstitutional?

  • http://www.wbur.org/people/aragusea Adam Ragusea

    Just for background, here’s a history of the very first BID-like entity in the world:


  • John

    Yet another reason not to eat at McDonald’s.

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