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  • Cathy O’Connor

Districts are a great investment

Thriving, unique commercial districts add immense value, celebrate our cultural diversity and support Oklahoma City’s economic development efforts.

As with small commercial districts in many cities, our commercial districts are walkable, comfortable and interesting. The shops and restaurants are often operated by local artists and entrepreneurs, which brings authenticity to the offerings in the districts. Being able to walk from home to great shops and restaurants is desirable. Property values of homes near Oklahoma City’s commercial districts consistently increase at a higher-than-average rate.

Many of the commercial districts are also business improvement districts. Business improvement districts are a public-private partnership in which property owners pay a special assessment for the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district. All of the BIDs in Oklahoma City are managed by a business-merchants association that typically includes an executive director who reports to a board of directors and manages the district services and relations.

BIDs deliver supplemental services within a defined district, such as maintenance and sanitation, public safety, marketing and promotion, capital improvements and landscaping and beautification.

To encourage and support development within the commercial districts, the city of Oklahoma City has a Commercial District Revitalization Program that includes a revolving loan fund. The loan funds can be used by business owners for a variety of eligible expenses, including operating capital, equipment lease or purchase and real estate acquisition. The city Planning Department can also assist in the creation of new commercial districts.

Read the full article at The Journal Record

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