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Study shows that "It Pays to Belong to a Business Improvement District"

SAN DIEGO -- A new study by National University's System Institute for Policy Research reveals that " It Pays to Have a Business District."

The report says that San Diego business improvement districts generate major economic benefits for their businesses and the region.

Business improvement districts (BIDs) exist throughout the city, in which merchants a particular area agreed to pay annual assessments to maintain the commercial area. Business owners in the various districts pay an annual assessment to fund the BID.

Hillcrest is home to the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA), one of the oldest such districts in the city. The HBA represents more than 1200 business in the area, and puts on events to promote the member businesses, such as CityFest, the Hillcrest Hoedown, Taste 'n' Tinis, and the weekly Hillcrest Farmers Market.

Other BID activities include posting streetlight banners, street sweeping, trash collection, landscaping, and organizing annual events.

Key findings from the study include:

- With about 12,000 merchants and $12.5 million in annual revenues, business improvement districts are the largest self-sustaining small business program in San Diego.

- From fiscal 2008 to 2010, San Diego business improvement districts generated a $47.4 million regional economic impact.

- Every year, BID spending sustains about 233 jobs.

- Most BID members receive greater than a 5:1 return on investment for their annual assessments.

"BIDs generate positive economic benefits for member businesses and for the greater San Diego County area," the report says. "Strong evidence suggests that for more than forty years, BIDs have created jobs, supported small business owners, and renewed some of San Diego’s oldest commercial corridors. With high unemployment and state government budget cuts continuing for the foreseeable future, local policy makers should consider exploring new ways to expand participation in the BID program."

To read the full report, click HERE.