It's been in the works for years, and now the Anacostia Business Improvement District -- a formal structure that will levy taxes on property owners to make the neighborhood more attractive -- is just waiting on its final approval from the city to get started.
The effort got rolling in earnest in 2008, when Councilmember Marion Barry introduced legislation that would enable the BID's establishment, setting the tax at $0.21 per $100 of assessed value for properties along Good Hope Road, Howard Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and Shannon Place S.E.
It passed, but the group of landowners and non-profits (including Four Points Development's Stan Voudrie, Doug Jemal, Don Peebles, ARCH Development Corporation, the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation) then had to get signoff from the Internal Revenue Service and submit their application to the Department of Small and Local Business Development, which is the last remaining hurdle.
It's a significant step, because BIDs have been transformative in emerging commercial areas around the city: Downtown, NoMa and the Capitol Riverfront especially played key roles in making things happen for their little areas.
In large part, it comes down to making the neighborhoods feel clean and safe, but BIDs can also band together to help create services. The Circulator bus, for example, was largely a BID-driven effort. It's especially important for Anacostia, where a Main Streets program died a few years ago, but which has perhaps the best chance to capture growth over the next few years.
For a large version of the full BID map, click here.
Also See: Eat Shop Live Anacostia
Anacostia Business Improvement District Almost Off the Ground was originally published by Washington City Paper on Sept. 9, 2011.