LID To Adopt Strategic Plan
BY KIM GLASSCOCK
A proposed strategic plan for the Local Improvement District Advisory Committee is expected to be discussed and finalized by LID members at the group’s Dec. 6 meeting.
The strategic plan would be the first for the LID advisory committee since it was established in 1993. Members agreed that the plan would be useful now since the group has much more funding to allocate after paying off the original LID bonds in February for the streets, gutters, curbs and lighting project.
The proposed strategic plan includes a mission statement stating that the LID “serves to promote economic vitality and sustain a viable and robust business base in Niwot’s culturally authentic commercial district, through stewardship for the investment of sales tax revenues and prioritization of those funds.”
The vision statement for the advisory board echoes the LID’s mission statement. The Niwot Local Improvement District Advisory Committee “is a catalyst for a thriving business district that sustains the unique, authentic culture of Niwot,” according to the vision agreed upon by LID members.
LID members also drew up a set of guiding principles, or value statements. The value statements “express how the LID does business, how they get things done and their role in the community,” according to the proposed strategic plan.
Working with “passion and integrity,” making funding decisions and addressing responsibilities “in a responsive, consistent and transparent manner,” and “valuing and providing opportunities for community members to actively participate in funding requests that utilize LID sales tax revenues to accomplish the LID vision and objectives” are among the value statements LID members agreed on.
The group also agreed that the LID advocates for “an ever-improving and sustainable business environment in Niwot’s commercial district,” strives for “data-driven, informed funding decisions” that will help the LID achieve the vision and “bring a return on investment to the community,” and is committed to “attracting outside visitors to Niwot and to creating awareness of Niwot’s unique, authentic character.”
The proposed strategic plan also defines three LID funding categories: infrastructure, marketing and promotions, and economic development for the town. The plan describes objectives for the use of funds in each of the categories, outlines how success will be measured, and describes general parameters for the types of activities that can be considered for LID funding in each category.
The infrastructure category includes objectives such as maintenance and improvements, including but not limited to streets, curbing, and lighting. Beautification projects fall under this category, such as flower pots and flowers, banners and holiday decorations, landscaping and public art.
Providing sufficient parking for customers, visitors and business employees also falls under the infrastructure funding category. Among the goals listed are identifying locations for temporary parking, especially for special events; finding adequate permanent parking off Second Avenue for employees and vendors; and addressing bicycle parking needs in Niwot.
The infrastructure category also includes projects which would increase the flow and connectivity between the Old Town Niwot and Cottonwood Square business areas. Goals include clarifying the responsibilities of Boulder County and the LID, funding directional or way-finding signage that indicates connections in Niwot, prioritizing the recommendations in the transportation study, and encouraging a bike rental vendor location in Niwot.
Supporting and creating community gathering infrastructure in Niwot also falls under the infrastructure funding category, Goals in that area include placing benches, alcoves and play structures in the commercial areas, and identifying additional needs for meeting places.
Marketing and Promotions
The proposed strategic plan calls for marketing and promotion funds to support special events; electronic media, other advertising and print media to promote the business district; improving and Niwot signage.
The strategic plan lays out goals and guidelines for special events that LID funding may support. An objective for the special events category is “to support essential expenses and promotions for public community events in Niwot which draw substantial visitors to the LID and provide significant direct and indirect economic benefits to the merchants within the district by informing such visitors of the goods and services provided by Niwot merchants, resulting in contemporaneous or future sales.”
To be considered for LID funding, events must be free and open to the public and community. They should be held in or in close proximity to the district, and usually be sponsored by a non-profit organization, the plan states.
Reasonable expenses for advertisements, posters and signs will be considered for full funding, according to the strategic plan. Partial funding may be given to the costs of producing an event, such as entertainment, musicians, performers, speakers, storytellers and children’s activities. Transportation services also will be considered for partial funding, according to the plan.
To apply for funding, event sponsors must:
Furnish a complete event budget, and the actual budget for the preceding year, if any;
Contribute at least a percentage of the cost of the event from organizational funds, event revenues and sponsorships;
Design the event to become primarily self-supporting;
List the Niwot LID as a sponsor on all published promotional material and use the “Niwot: Vintage Colorado” logo, and display the Niwot banner at events;
Conduct a merchant survey following the event to measure business activity during the event.
In addition, event sponsors are encouraged to direct net proceeds from the event to support local nonprofits that benefit the Niwot community, and to create a Facebook event or use other social media and link to Niwot.com.
The strategic plan calls for advertising the business district through print and electronic media in order to increase brand recognition and attract businesses to locate in Niwot. Following current practice, the Niwot Business Association would develop a media plan, advertising schedule and a budget for both print and electronic advertising.
LID funds could be used to support and maintain the town’s website, Niwot.com; support production of a weekly electronic newsletter; and support social media promotion. The “Niwot: Vintage Colorado” logo should be used on all advertising, and use of a trackable marketing device such as coupons or web hits should be encouraged.
Signage in Niwot also falls under marketing and promotions, according to the plan. Signs should brand, identify and announce Niwot, and attract visitors to town. Funding can be allocated for signs, banners and signage on bike trails directing riders to Niwot.
The economic development category focuses on business development in the LID. The objective is to “support existing businesses’ ability to remain in business in the district, and to support businesses interested in locating to Niwot’s business areas in order to ensure economic vitality, viability and a balanced commercial mix,” the plan states.
Goals under the category include:
design a plan for business incentives available to all merchants within the LID, possibly including workshops, technical assistance or professional development;
fund developing information for businesses interested in locating in Niwot and posting it on a website;
identify target businesses, and the needs and barriers to attracting them;
develop a plan and funding budget to meet existing businesses’ needs;
identify and recruit targeted types of businesses to gain a balanced commercial mix;
conduct an inventory of available commercial space within the LID.
Members of the LID advisory committee are scheduled to discuss the proposed strategic plan at the Dec. 6 meeting. Once it is approved by the LID, the plan will be presented to the Boulder County Commissioners for their consideration.
Photo by Gail Ludwig
Futuristic Films from Denver shoots a commercial in Niwot. The commercial is expected to debut in January on the Internet, with possible TV spots to follow.