A small city on the eastern side of the San Pablo Bay, Benicia offers small-town charm within a stone’s throw of the big city itself – San Francisco.
In late 2010, the City of Benicia dedicated funds to forming an improvement district. Unlike most cities, Benicia did not have a particular district type or location in mind. A tourism improvement district, downtown property-based district, and downtown business-based district were all on the table. The City simply wanted to take steps to make Benicia an even better place to be, capitalizing upon its recently launched A Great Day by the Bay campaign.
Through a series of meetings with property owners, hoteliers, and business owners, it was determined that a downtown business improvement district was the most feasible type of district. The district had a clear goal – to take advantage of Benicia’s small town charm, to make downtown an even more attractive place to be.
After a series of meetings with business owners, an assessment scenario and budget were determined. The district focused on installing and maintaining decorative tree lighting, with any additional available funds dedicated to increased marketing efforts.
In 2011, the Downtown Benicia Business Improvement District was formed. Placing an assessment on businesses throughout downtown based on business type and location, the district raises $35,000 per year. A new nonprofit corporation, the Downtown Benicia Alliance, was created to manage the district funds.
No matter the time of year, a trip to Downtown Benicia will reveal streets lined with twinkling trees. At the holidays, extra lights and décor make downtown extra sparkly. With the new structure provided by the Alliance, Downtown Benicia is more organized than ever and poised for success.