Program Description

Business Improvement Districts (BID) are special assessment districts in which property owners vote to initiate, manage and finance supplemental services or enhancements above and beyond the baseline of services already provided by their local city or town governments. A special assessment, or common area fee, is levied only on property within the district. The assessments are collected and expended within the district for a range of services and/or programs, including marketing and public relations, improving the downtown marketplace or city/town center, capital improvements, public safety enhancements, and special events. A BID creates a stable local management structure that provides a sustainable funding source for the revitalization and long-term maintenance of downtowns and city/town centers. The goal of a BID is to improve a specific commercial area by attracting customers, clients, shoppers and other businesses.

Establishing A BID

Communities are authorized to establish BIDs under M.G.L. Chapter 40O. A BID must be a contiguous geographic area in which at least 75% of the land is zoned or used for commercial, retail, industrial or mixed uses. A BID is established through a local petition and public hearing process. The petition must be signed by the owners of at least 60% of the real property and at least 51% of the assessed valuation of the real property within the proposed BID. The petition must also include delineation of the BID boundaries, a proposed improvement plan, budget and assessment/fee structure.

Eligible Activities

A BID is authorized to perform a wide variety of management, administrative, marketing and economic development activities, including:

District Management - management entity with staff

Maintenance - street cleaning, snow removal, litter & graffiti removal, washing sidewalks, tourist guides

Promotion and Marketing - identification of market niche, special events, brochures, advertising, newsletters

Business Services - business recruitment and retention, sign & façade programs

Capital/Physical Improvements - streetscape improvements, management of parking garage, maintaining parking shelters, historic preservation

Additional Program Information

DHCD will provide technical assistance to communities considering the establishment of a BID in order to support their downtown revitalization activities and to ensure compliance with statutory requirements. The BID petition must be forwarded by the municipality to DHCD.



For additional information, please call the Division of Community Services at 617-573-1400.