DIA Explores Creation of Business Improvement District

For nearly 70 years, the DIA has served the Dimond through initiatives the community has come to rely on. In an effort to ensure the growth and sustainability of these and other programs, the DIA sought and received funds from the City in 2021 to explore the formation of a business improvement district (BID).

BID Definition
A BID is a public-private partnership—often made up of property owners, residents, and businesses—dedicated to improving a neighborhood’s quality of life through economic and community development. BIDs often lead programs similar to those of the DIA, but rather than rely on dues, grants, and event proceeds to sustain those programs, BIDs are funded by an assessment on properties within the defined district, thus ensuring a long-term, sustainable revenue stream. 

Although not part of City government, BIDs must be authorized by the City through a multi-step approval process. They are required by law to adhere to strict transparency and operational protocols, encouraging broad public input and accountability.

BID Benefits
A BID delivers community benefits in a defined geographic area, and can include: 

  • Neighborhood beautification, cleaning and maintenance, including graffiti removal, litter abatement and landscaping 
  • Public safety and visitor services, such as security camera installation, neighborhood watch and community ambassadors
  • Economic development efforts, including new business recruitment, retention and development
  • Marketing and promotional programs, such social media, advertising and public events
  • Capital improvements, including facade revitalization and revolving loan programs

The Case for a Dimond District BID
The Dimond District is one of Oakland’s most dynamic neighborhoods, home to many small businesses and a noted hub for public art and community events. For seven decades, the Dimond Improvement Association (DIA) – as a community-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – has worked to make the Dimond neighborhood a vibrant, safe, and beautiful place for everyone to live, work, shop, and play.

Through leadership in a number of community efforts, public forums, and programs like Keep Dimond Clean, Dimond Public Art, and Oaktoberfest – as well by providing financial support for other local initiatives through its Community Grants Program – the DIA has demonstrated that the Dimond commercial corridor and the greater neighborhood can be significantly improved through focused efforts that involve residents, property owners, and businesses in pursuit of a common goal. 

What has limited the impact of the DIA’s programs is access to a consistent funding source. While tasked with performing numerous services that the City does not provide, the DIA relies solely on membership dues and event revenues to sustain itself and build momentum for its community investments and initiatives. However, these funds have not proven sufficient to provide the community with all the services it deserves.

BID Feasibility Study
With funding provided by the City of Oakland, the DIA is now engaged in a feasibility study for the formation of the Dimond Business Improvement District (DBID). Gallo Advantage Consulting has been hired to provide strategic project management services, and Kristin Lowell, Inc., and Nancy Hormann & Associates, LLC, have been contracted as study and outreach consultants. Kristin and Nancy have been working in the field for more than 30 years – from drafting local and state BID policy to managing BIDs in cities around the state – and have supported the formation, expansion, or renewal of more than 50 business improvement districts in California, including several in Oakland.

The purpose of the study is to explore the support for a business improvement district, and if affected property owners express interest, to proceed with the formal formation process to adopt a district by July 2023, with BID operations beginning in early 2024.

BID Steering Committee
The DIA is seeking business leaders, and commercial and residential property owners, to comprise a Dimond BID Steering Committee to guide the feasibility study. With the DIA serving as fiscal agent, the committee is tasked with engaging the broader Dimond community in the study process, promoting the concept with neighborhood and city entities, and individuals, and defining key BID elements, including boundaries, services and improvements, and the assessment formula. The committee meets on the fourth Monday of every month at 7 pm.

For more information or to join in the effort, please contact:
dimondbid@dimondnews.org
or these individuals:
Nancy Hormann, Hormann & Associates, LLC, BID Formation Consultant, (480) 758-1951
Aliza Gallo, Gallo Advantage Consulting, Project Manager, (510) 502-1740

Additional information: