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An Ellyse Eye View – BID Intern Recaps DC BID Council Meeting

On Tuesday, Patty, Kelly, and I visited our neighboring BID, Capitol Riverfront, for July’s DC BID Council meeting. While admiring the tenth-story view of the Nationals Ball Park from my comfortable leather chair, I was introduced to the DC BID Council’s Executive Director, Anne-Marie Bairstow, and Executive Directors  of the Adams Morgan, Georgetown, NoMa, and Capitol Riverfront BIDs. As tasty sandwiches and salads were carted in, the meeting began without further ado.

After approving the minutes from the June meeting, the first item on the agenda was an update on recent events and projects in each BID. It was interesting to hear the different issues and challenges that arise in different BIDs as each member spoke about their area. For example, some face increasing residential development, which means fewer resources for the BID to carry out its “clean and safe” initiatives in the community. Others are confronted with requests for services that are outside their BID’s boundaries. As I dished a second helping of pasta onto my plate, a council discussion on solutions to these and other issues followed.

Next, the council was introduced to Chris Ahn of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Ahn serves as the DMPED’s Corporate Assistance Director, a newly created position to strengthen ties between the private sector and the City. Each member of the DC BID Council was excited to learn about the District’s corporate attraction efforts and pursuit of office market growth.

From attending the meeting, it was evident that each BID member had an agenda of promoting their BID’s best interests, yet it was clear that they had a common goal of enhancing D.C.’s neighborhoods through their efforts. The meeting also served as a reminder to me that Business Improvement Districts are not something that is automatically granted to a community; they only exist if the businesses and community members have a sincere interest in making their neighborhood a better place.

Capitol Hill has taken this interest a step farther through its willingness to support Ready, Willing, & Working, founded by Capitol Hill BID President Patty Brosmer. RWW improves the Capitol Hill BID community beyond beautification of flower baskets and clean streets by offering a hand up to homeless and formerly incarcerated men in the area.

Admitting that I’m slightly biased, I think Capitol Hill BID has done an amazing job serving the community, while expanding its program with limited resources, and implementing the unique Ready, Willing, & Working program.

Column written by Ellyse Murphy, Capitol Hill BID intern and rising senior at George Washington University. For more information about the DC BID Council, visit dcbidcouncil.org.