Management of Downtown Long Beach’s Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) is fundamental to the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA)’s role in helping sustain and improve the success and vitality of Downtown. The PBID provides funding for maintenance, public safety, beautification, marketing, and economic development programs above and beyond those provided by the City of Long Beach. It is up for renewal in 2022, and property owners in Downtown now have the opportunity to vote to continue the PBID for an additional ten-year term.
A California bill enacted in 1994 — The Property and Business District Improvement Law — gave the City of Long Beach the authority to create the PBID, which gave DLBA a funding mechanism for specific programs and services. Austin Metoyer, DLBA’s Economic and Policy Manager, explained: “Originally, DLBA’s role was strictly to promote Downtown Long Beach. The PBID gave us a tool with which we could provide Clean and Safe services such as graffiti and trash removal and pressure washing of sidewalks.”
Currently, the PBID takes up 52% of DLBA’s budget, and more than two-thirds of that budget portion goes to services that are intended to keep Downtown clean, safe and attractive. “The PBID is the primary source of funding for our Clean Teams and Safety Ambassadors,” said Brad Segal, whose company, Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.) has assisted DLBA with its PBID and Strategic Plan since 2012.
Segal elaborated: “The new PBID will add a homeless outreach dimension intended to work with social service partners to find pathways off of the streets for unhoused individuals. It will also help to contain behaviors from our unhoused neighbors suffering from mental illness.”
The remaining third of the PBID budget will fund economic development programs that primarily support small businesses, marketing and events that make Downtown more vital. “All of these services will be critically important as Downtown recovers from the pandemic and regains positive momentum,” noted Segal.
Evidence of the PBID’s benefits are particularly visible this time of year; Downtown holiday decorations, which have been a tradition for decades, are funded through the PBID. Pop-up art installations in vacant storefronts, which provide visual continuity as Downtown continues to recover and develop, are provided through the PBID as well.
The strongest representation of the PBID’s benefits is the hard work of DLBA’s Clean and Safe Teams, who have worked tirelessly throughout the years and during the toughest times of the pandemic, picking up tons of trash, assisting countless pedestrians, and acting as a liaison between DLBA and local law enforcement and social service organizations. For example, in the first half of 2021, the team removed 21,000 pounds of trash and spent 3,100 hours of pressure washing in Downtown.
As Downtown Long Beach continues to recover from the pandemic, it is our hope that the PBID will continue to finance improvements and activities that will positively energize the Downtown environment and experience for all stakeholders, including property owners, businesses, residents, employees, and visitors.