Downtown W-B Business Improvement District

The Downtown Wilkes-Barre
Business Improvement District (DWBBID):
Creating a Better Downtown Together

On August 1, 2007, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District (DWBBID) began providing supplementary place management, place marketing, and economic development services to the properties and businesses of Downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Following a year of discussion and planning, the DWBBID was created by City Council ordinance following the requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Neighborhood Improvement District Act. The DWBBID was renewed in 2012, and its current authorization extends through the end of 2018.

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a legal mechanism that allows property owners and businesses to pool resources to effectively address common concerns within a specific service area. Because a BID is based upon a multi-year commitment, it provides sustainable funding so development plans, budgets, and business strategies can be made on a multi-year basis. The cost per business is low because all benefiting properties pay their fair share.

The Diamond City Partnership manages the DWBBID, which serves an area extending from Academy Street in the south to North Street in the north. Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s property and business owners are all partners in the DWBBID: their collective investment makes it possible for the DWBBID to provide these services, and to create a cleaner, safer, and more vibrant Downtown.

DWBBID Renewal Process

The results of this work have added significant value to Downtown Wilkes-Barre. Since the DWBBID started operations in 2007:

• Downtown Wilkes-Barre has seen a net gain of 47 occupied storefronts.

• Downtown Wilkes-Barre has seen a net gain of 205 new market-rate housing units.

• There has been more than $160 million of private investment in Downtown Wilkes-Barre.

• Two-thirds of respondents to DCP’s 2018 Perception & Use Survey – including 71% of downtown workers and 94% of downtown business owners – believe that Downtown Wilkes-Barre is “headed in the right direction.”

• 75% of respondents to DCP’s 2018 Perception & Use Survey said that Downtown is a good place to visit for entertainment, music, arts, and culture.

• Half of the respondents to DCP’s 2018 Perception & Use Survey rated Downtown as “much cleaner” than other Wilkes-Barre neighborhoods.

• 70% of the respondents to the same survey said that Downtown has “much less graffiti” than other Wilkes-Barre neighborhoods.

Now, it’s time to plan for the DWBBID’s next phase. The DWBBID’s preliminary plan for the next ten years of operation places additional emphasis on business development and placemaking, while continuing to ensure that Downtown Wilkes-Barre is clean, safe, attractive, and well-marketed.

Click here to download a letter from the Chair of the Diamond City Partnership regarding the DWBBID’s renewal plan.

Click here to download the Final 2019-2029 Plan for the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District.

The Preliminary Renewal Plan was mailed to the DWBBID’s ratepayers in September of 2018. It was reviewed at two ratepayer meetings, held on October 3 and October 4, 2018, and at a public hearing held by Wilkes-Barre City Council on October 16, 2018 to receive comment on the Plan. Based on those comments, a Final Plan was prepared and sent to ratepayers for their consideration.

City Council then initiated the mandatory public comment period, which will conclude on December 3, 2018. During this period, benefited property owners may register written objections to the Final Plan pursuant to the procedures outlined in Section XVII of the Final Plan. If the ratepayers approve the new DWBBID plan, the new Final Plan will go into effect on January 1, 2019.

If you have any questions about the DWBBID or its operations, please contact DCP’s Executive Director, Larry Newman, here.