This new southern district will join the northern district in paying annuals fees that bring in thousands of dollars each year. These fees, which could total more than $150,000 go to efforts to market downtown, carry out beautification and capital improvements and make it more appealing to visitors.
The city established the northern business improvement district in 2005, covering the more traditional downtown north of Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The fees range from $125 to $2,500 per business and have been bringing in about $95,000 a year.
The new southern district extends from Mt. Diablo Boulevard to Newell Avenue on the south, California Boulevard to the west, and south Broadway to the east. In addition to Broadway Plaza, it brings in such stores as Trader Joe's, CVS Pharmacy, Safeway and Whole Foods. But it bypasses Plaza Escuela, including the Century Downtown 14 movie theater and Cheesecake Factory. CLARIFICATION: That's because, according to city officials, they are in the original northern district.
The shops in the new business district would receive marketing and advocacy services from the Walnut Creek Downtown Business Association, including a presence on the "I Love Downtown Walnut Creek" Facebook Fan page.
"By working together, we can undertake new projects," says Emily Chang, executive director of the Walnut Creek Downtown Business Association, which administers the improvement districts. Bringing in the southern shops into the marketing effort will bring "synergy between the different areas of downtown."
City Council members would eventually like to combine the north and south districts, as well as increase the fees, in order to recoup the cost to the city of administering the improvement districts.