A campaign to create a $1.6 million program to address clean streets, public safety, and business growth across Capitol Hill’s commercial districts will begin a new phase this week with the first in a series of planned open house sessions to gather support for an expanded Capitol Hill Business Improvement Area and a new, larger charter for the organization behind the campaign, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.
In February, when chamber director Sierra Hansen officially announced the campaign to form a new Business Improvement Area, she said the organization had received commitments from about half of the 60% of 650 commercial property owners needed to move the proposal forward to the City Council for approval.
As the petitions have been circulating, Hansen said much of the past month has been spent following up with those committed owners, gathering official signatures and scheduling meetings with other stakeholders.
“Our list of supporters is strong,” she said, noting it includes Capitol Hill real estate developer Hunters Capital, faith-based organizations, Capitol Hill Housing, and residents.
Hansen declined to say what gains in the percentage of needed signatures the chamber has been able to secure in the early days of the campaign.
Not everyone is buying into it. Morris Groberman, who along with an investment partnership owns Harvard Market, says the current, smaller BIA focused only on Broadway already doesn’t do enough to clean up the neighborhood and keep crimes down — and he says his taxes are high enough already.
“I can only pass so much on to the residents before it hits my bottom line,” he said. Continue reading