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Poll: Should the City Spend $70K for a Business Improvement District?

The City Council set aside the money to hire a consultant to start a district to stimulate business development downtown.

The has approved $70,000 to establish a property-based business improvement district with the goal of revitalizing the downtown area.

The move comes threw a wrench into Arcadia's downtown development plans.

The Arcadia Downtown Business Association will use the money to hire consultants from San Diego-based New City America to help get the PBID off the ground. However, commercial property owners in the district must still approve the plan, as it would involve levying a tax to fund exterior building improvements, marketing and special events like food truck festivals or a farmer's market.

Mayor Bob Harbicht said the Council's decision will "help a group that helps themselves."

"The best chance of success for revitalization lies in having active, involved business owners and property owners pulling together to make the district a success," Harbicht said. "Government can only do so much."

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Scott Hettrick says he hopes the PBID will give Arcadia's downtown a much-needed shot in the arm by the time the Gold Line station opens on First Avenue and Santa Clara Street in 2016.

"The plan is for the streets surrounding the hub of First Avenue and Huntington Drive to be bustling with activity to attract and capitalize on the potential new visitors arriving at Arcadia's new Gold Line train station," Hettrick wrote in an e-mail to Patch.

owner and Business Association President Matt McSweeny says the project has been in the works for more than a year.

"We're very, very pleased that the Council is supporting this endeavor," McSweeny said, adding that he envisions Arcadia's future downtown as something similar to the area surrounding South Pasadena's Gold Line station on Mission Street.

"I'd like to see more restaurants and a little coffee shop," he said. "We want to make sure there will people who want to get off on that stop and support the businesses in the downtown."

But the biggest hurdle remains: Getting local business owners on board.

"Everyone's going to have to pony up a couple of bucks," McSweeny said.

The Business Association will concentrate its efforts on an aggressive outreach campaign to local businesses. McSweeny said he has gotten mostly positive responses from business owners he has approached, but his association still has a long road to travel.

"We're going to go out there and we're going to hustle, and we're going to try to make things better for that whole downtown area," he said.

Martin A Wood May 25, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I believe that it is an excellent investment for the City of Arcadia to make. Our core group of business and property owners have spend hundreds of hours for almost three years organizing a way vastly improve the aesthetics, culture, traffic, and finding ways to attract new businesses and help our existing ones. Especially with the new train station coming the very first part of Arcadia that people will see is our district Making it look and feel special will help everyone. Marty Wood, PBID Board member, Property & Business Owner. (Arcadia resident 42 years.)
Bobby Bluehouse May 26, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Marty is right. Don't argue with Marty!! Thanks Scott and Chamber for your good work!

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