A Business Improvement District (BID) is a partnership in which property and business owners elect to make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district. 

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and similarly, Special Improvement Districts (SIDs), can be a valuable tool in revitalizing a city’s central commercial district. These districts operate in a clearly delineated area within which property owners are subject to a fee to fund maintenance and public improvements. They operate as nonprofit 501(c)(4) organizations, public-private partnerships, or city agencies. 

BID activities range from picking up litter, installing park benches and street lamps, and promoting a district’s unique characteristics. Furthermore, well-established and well-organized BIDs can organize to pressure the local government for services. 

This resource, produced by the New York City Department of Small Business, is a step-by-step guide to implementing a BID. Although the resource is from a large city, the steps outlined in the guide can still prove useful to individuals in smaller legacy cities. BID implementation may vary depending on the state and the enabling legislation.