Business Improvement District

Additional Business Improvement District Petition Information

We’ve met with over 40 downtown property owners– anyone who asked– over the course of this fall to discuss the opportunity to develop a downtown business improvement district. The petition has met welcome support and a handful of thoughtful questions.


Stakeholders wanted more information about how the funds would be used wanted to see how BID funds would be used to partner with other economic development organizations. Stakeholders also asked us to consider shortening the term of the BID to everything from 7 to 3 years and to evaluate the methodology used to calculate rate increases over the life of the district to keep it equitable.


We’re proud to report that thanks to the hard work of the BID Steering Committee, BDL Board members and Staff, we can now provide answers to those questions. Please join us for a Stakeholder Meeting at noon on Friday, December 6 at the Lewiston City Library, 411 D Street.


What is a Business Improvement District?

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are like Homeowner’s Associations, but for commercial districts. Idaho Code enables formation of a BID in Idaho Statue, Title 50, Chapter 26.


The proposed BID would equitably assess property owners in the downtown district to generate revenue to implement the recommendations of the Lewiston Downtown Master Plan for a period of seven years. Development of a BID is a Key Action recommended by the Downtown Master Plan as a catalyst to completing the plan’s recommendations.

What are the benefits of a Business Improvement District?

BID funds will be used over a period of seven years to help drive private and public investments in properties and infrastructure. This will result in increased occupancy of commercial storefronts, attraction of new businesses, additional residential units, and help sustaining and expanding the district’s overall economy.


Benefits of this work will include increased pedestrian traffic, reduced automobile traffic speeds and reinforcement of downtown Lewiston’s sense of place as a destination for quality businesses and community gatherings.

Why create a Business Improvement District now?

The Lewiston Downtown Master Plan, which was adopted by the Lewiston City Council on July 22, 2019, recommended the formation of a BID as a key action to ensure a stable funding source for an organization that can help drive the implementation of the Downtown Master Plan over a long-term period.


Idaho code specifies that Cities an appoint any qualified Idaho nonprofit to administer the Business Improvement District. We think Beautiful Downtown Lewiston Revitalization Corporation is the appropriate organization to provide catalytic leadership to leverage BID funds to implement the Master Plan. The funding would enable BDL will be able to expand its services to accelerate revitalization of downtown Lewiston to enhance the neighborhood while protecting existing investments. Please see the separate sheet for how Beautiful Downtown Lewiston would incorporate BID funding into their program if designated to administer the program by the City of Lewiston.

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How will the BID revenue be spent?

The proposed BID would initially generate about $150,000 per year in revenue, which would be used to provide benefits and services within the district. The proposed Scope of Work to be pursued over the seven-year duration of the BID is based on the recommendations of the Lewiston Downtown Master Plan. Major categories and related budget commitments are shown below:

Examples of what the BID could accomplish

Commercial, Residential & Public Investment

Several short and long-term entrepreneurial and strategic opportunities for downtown Lewiston are identified in the Lewiston Downtown Master Plan.


In the short term, BID funding could focus on recruiting additional investment in commercial and residential properties downtown by offering small matching grants for investors exploring property redevelopment in the district. This “pump priming” would result in investment that would create quality tenant spaces, reduce vacancy rates, and increase the number of residential units in the district. The BID could also lead on policy development that would streamline project permitting and minimize construction delays.


In the long term, BID revenue would support in-depth collaborative work with private property owners and public agencies to realize needed major infrastructure projects to fruition while minimizing the impact to businesses in the district. This will result in reducing the need for off-site improvements to water, sewer, stormwater and transportation infrastructure with private development.

Business & Economic Development

The Lewiston Downtown Master Plan identifies several opportunities for business and economic development. For example, BID funds could be used over a seven year period to improve wayfinding signage to public parking lots, coordinate annual marketing campaigns for the district, provide small matching grants to aid businesses in evaluating an expansion or new location in the district, and to increase new business longevity by developing an entrepreneur-readiness program specifically tailored to the unique economy of downtown Lewiston. BID funding could also be used to support public programming and events that bring customers downtown.

Transportation Circulation & Placemaking

Several pages of the Lewiston Downtown Master Plan point to specific improvements to transportation circulation and placemaking.


For example, BID funding could be used to evaluate and improve the pedestrian experience downtown by developing pedestrian wayfinding to help customers travel from public parking lots to businesses and coordinate investments in pedestrian-oriented lighting, benches, and signage. BID revenue could also serve as matching funds for grants that would aid in the planning and construction of a new ADA-pedestrian connection between downtown and the potential customers living on Normal Hill.

Management & Administration

High-quality administration of the BID program is a mandatory expectation of this program. BID funding would be used to facilitate consistent communication about the program’s work and impact, ongoing initiatives that impact property and business owners, and completion of required financial and legal reporting. This would include an annual meeting at which property owners elect representatives who participate in the BID decision-making process.

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What's the process for developing the BID?

A BID is a property-owner driven initiative in which property owners decide on the boundaries, budget, scope of work, and assessment method. Through a petition process the property owners ask a local government agency to implement a Business Improvement District. The petition must be signed by property owners who represent at least 50% of the total assessed value of properties in the district.


The local government that accepts the petition must validate the petition signatures and then consider implementation of the BID through an ordinance at a public hearing. The elected officials vote to implement the ordinance. The BID is not subject to a community-wide vote or election.


For this proposed BID, the government agency with jurisdiction to implement the BID will be the City of Lewiston.

What's the timeline for the Downtown Lewiston BID?

The goal is to complete the BID process by the end of 2019 so that it can be implemented January 1, 2020. The process is as follows:


BDL will hold an Open House for property owners in the proposed BID boundaries on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at 5:30 pm in the Lewiston Orchid Room on the second floor of Morgan’s Alley, 301 Main Street in downtown Lewiston. Board members will present information and field questions about the proposed BID.


Property owner petition packets will be available for pick up at the open house. Petition packets not picked up will be mailed to property owners the following day.


The petition process will last from September 10 through October 11, 2019, after which the signatures will be validated and a public hearing schedule set for adoption of the ordinance.


Idaho Code does not specific a time limit for Business Improvement Districts. This proposal stipulates a seven-year BID, which provides enough time to measure impact but doesn’t commit property owners indefinitely. The district will be in place January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2026, after which property owners will have the opportunity to renew the district through a new petition process.

What communities in our region have a BID?

The following Idaho communities have a BID:

  • Boise
  • Caldwell
  • Coeur d’Alene
  • Idaho Falls
  • Nampa
  • Pocatello
  • Sandpoint

The following Washington communities have a BID:

  • Poulsbo
  • Aberdeen
  • Everett
  • Edmonds
  • Seattle (10 BIDs in different neighborhoods)
  • Spokane (2 BIDs in different neighborhoods)
  • Tacoma
  • Olympia
  • Wenatchee
  • Yakima

How is this BID proposal different from previous BID efforts?

Previous BID proposals for downtown Lewiston sought to assess individual businesses located in downtown Lewiston from 1st Street to 21st Street, Normal Hill Bluff to Clearwater River. This BID is smaller in area and would assess property owners rather than businesses.

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What are the boundaries?

The proposed BID would assess commercial properties located from 1st to roughly Lincoln Street, from the base of the Normal Hill bluff to the Clearwater River. In support of the community’s investments in downtown revitalization, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center specifically asked to be included in the BID.



Why these boundaries?

This area was identified as the historic commercial core and the civic district in the Lewiston Downtown Master Plan. It is a walkable mixed-use neighborhood where the development pattern is oriented to pedestrians on foot, which has implications for the type of businesses that thrive in the district. The Lewiston Downtown Master Plan identified over 40 recommendations for physical improvements, business recruitment, and policy development that will accelerate this neighborhood’s revitalization.

Why not go all the way to 21st Street or down Snake River Avenue?

The BID Steering Committee, composed and funded by property owners in downtown Lewiston, evaluated including all downtown properties from the 16th Avenue Roundabout on Snake River Avenue, along Main to 21st Street, in the BID. In the end, the Steering Committee decided to propose the BID boundaries for the following reasons:

  1. The proposed BID scope of work is deeply rooted in the Lewiston Downtown Master Plan, which makes only two recommendations for the area along Snake River Avenue and one recommendation east of Lincoln Street; and,
  2. The proposed BID boundaries are quite sizeable compared to BIDs across the country. The proposed geographical area provides the greatest opportunity to have a measurable impact over the seven-year life of the district.

The followoing image provides a to-scale comparison of the size of a handful of business districts in our region.

If the Downtown Lewiston BID is successful, expansion of the BID boundaries may be considered by downtown property owners if an effort is made to renew the district in 2026 or 2027.

BID Section Names-04

Who pays the assessment?

The proposed BID would assess commercial property owners in the district to initially generate about $150,000 per year. The following residential properties will be excluded: single family, duplex, triplex, and fourplex residential uses. Minimum assessments will be $100 per year.


Idaho’s Constitution prohibits assessments on City, County, and State properties in the district. The City of Lewiston and Lewis-Clark State College agreed to support the BID through annual Professional Services Agreements whereby they voluntarily commit funding towards completion of the scope of work describe in the BID petition—meaning, they agree annually to write a check for an amount proportional to what their BID assessment would be to the nonprofit administering the BID program.. Nez Perce County declined a similar request.

How is the assessment calculated?

The proposed BID assessment would equitably assess property owners using an equation that is based in part on a property’s appraised value and in part on a property’s total square footage (land square footage, not building square footage). Properties with no taxable value, generally those owned by nonprofit organization, will be assessed only on their property’s square footage at a slightly higher rate per square foot.

The proposed BID sets an assessment cap of $5,000 per parcel in the district.

Will the assessment adjust over time?

The proposed BID would base initial BID assessments on the 2018 property tax valuations and commits to a three-year lock on assessment rates for 2020, 2021, and 2022. After this initial period, rates will be adjusted based on property tax valuations.

How is the assessment collected?

BID assessments would be sent to property owners for payment on a quarterly basis. The revenue will then be used to implement the BID’s scope of work.

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Who decides how the assessment revenue is spent?

The Idaho State Code gives the Lewiston City Council the ability to designate an Idaho nonprofit to administer BID program. We believe that Beautiful Downtown Lewiston Revitalization Corporation is the appropriate 501(c)(3) nonprofit to use the funds.


If designated to administer the BID program by the Lewiston City Council, BDL would work with commercial property owners and downtown stakeholders to develop an annual work plan and budget outlining the next year’s activities. The proposed work plan would be presented to the City of Lewiston, which would then approve the work plan and budget in conjunction with an annual resolution designating BDL to administer the program.



Jump to:

Where do I go for additional information?

Additional information is available on BDL’s website. Questions about the BID can be directed to Glenn Anderson, BDL Board President, at 208-305-6205 or Courtney Kramer, BDL Executive Director, at 208-790-1148.

Related Links

Will BDL administer the Business Improvement District

Nonprofit Administration of the Downtown Lewiston Business Improvement District


How Beautiful Downtown Lewiston Revitalization Corporation would administer the Lewiston Business Improvement District


Idaho Code enables a local government to form a Business Improvement District and designate an Idaho nonprofit to administer the funds. As the 501c3 nonprofit Main Street program that’s lead revitalization of downtown Lewiston since 2003, Beautiful Downtown Lewiston Revitalization Corporation (BDL) believes we have the organizational capacity and catalytic leadership to administer this program.


BDL is grateful for the community’s volunteer and financial support since the organization’s founding in 2003. The proposed BID would expand BDL’s overall budget to enable the organization to expand its services.


BDL would continue to seek voluntary memberships from businesses who rent their tenant space in the district and from businesses located outside of the district boundaries.


Sponsorships would still be offered for popular events like the Price is Right Downtown, Lewiston’s Downtown Artwalk, and Pumpkin Palooza.


BDL would continue to seek grants to assist in completing the BID’s scope of work. Most grants, however, do not provide funding for overhead expenses, so grants are shown as a small revenue stream in the proposed budget.


As a 501c3, all donations directly to BDL are tax-deductible. BDL will continue to seek donations from community members who share our vision for a revitalized downtown Lewiston.

What BDL-specific perks would ratepayers receive if BDL administers the BID?

If desingated to administer the Business Improvement District, Beautiful Downtown Lewiston would provide all ratepayers with at least a minimum level of BDL membership.