Since 1986, the Downtown San Mateo Association ("DSMA") has been designated by the City Council to manage the Downtown Business Improvement District ("DBIA"). Originally activated to serve a largely retail-oriented district, the DSMA now manages a district with a much broader range of businesses. Over the years, there has been a natural increase in the cost of operations for the DSMA (staff, cleaning, event production, etc.) while revenues have remained flat with the same rate structure since 2009. As result, community leaders came together and agreed to review the level of service provided, budget and funding provided by the DBIA assessment to update the rate structure in a more equitable manner based on the benefits received from the services and reflective of the changes that have occurred in Downtown San Mateo since 1986. In this post, we provide a DSMA overview. Click here to read our previous post on the current and proposed DBIA assessment rates.
Thanks to its regionally central location and proximity to CalTrain, downtown San Mateo is an employment hub and a popular place to meet for both business and leisure purposes. Commuters and leisure visitors come from San Francisco, Santa Clara County, and the East Bay, as well as nearby Peninsula communities. Downtown is known for its vast abundance and variety of restaurants, which comprise more than 20% of district businesses. It is also an important node in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, hosting the offices of start-ups and tech-based companies large and small. The presence of Mills Medical Center means that downtown also includes many medical professionals and other healthcare uses. While there are traditional retailers in the district, the storefronts on most blocks are dominated by food purveyors, along with services such as salons, fitness studios, and banks. The blocks east of the railroad tracks also have a variety of automotive uses.
Downtown workers make up a sizable portion of downtown customers, and the district buzzes with activity during the workweek and into the evenings. Weekends are also busy both day and night with residents and visitors enjoying downtown offerings. The DSMA utilizes social media to promote downtown’s unique offerings on a daily basis. This has proven to be an extremely effective way to attract downtown visitors; particularly for restaurants.
While many downtown visitors have recently commented on improved cleanliness in the area, growth in the quick-service restaurant sector in recent years has contributed to ongoing issues, such as increased litter and the constant presence of overfilled waste bins on the sidewalks. Increased pedestrian traffic in this very popular district also adds to the need for services. The DSMA has addressed these issues by contracting with Universal Site Services. Under the current contract, the DSMA provides a 40-hour a week cleaning porter to wipe trash cans, sweep sidewalks and ensure downtown is clean and attractive.
There is always more that can be done to support and promote downtown. Besides its own efforts to do so, the DSMA sees itself as an organization that helps to supplement City Hall’s efforts as well. It is important to note that the DSMA has not seen an assessment increase in ten years. However, there is an opportunity to explore a modification of the DBIA assessments such that better services can be provided, cleanliness and beautification initiatives can be implemented, marketing dollars can be accessed and there can be greater equity among the varied downtown businesses.
Source: Downtown San Mateo Association 2018-2019 Annual Report
CivicMic works with the Downtown San Mateo Association to facilitate community outreach and public engagement opportunities to determine the level of public support for the expansion of existing services and activities creating additional value for the Downtown Business Improvement Area.
Business owners in the DBIA will receive a postcard with a link for an online survey to collect feedback in preparation for an onsite community meeting to discuss the DBIA services and proposed assessment structure.
Please visit CivicMic often as additional information will be posted. In the meantime, please use the “Share this:” buttons below to share this announcement with fellow business owners.
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