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Mpls DID Fast Facts



What is the Downtown Improvement District (DID)?

The DID is special service district, and is funded by the commercial property owners within 120+ block area of downtown.  The DID’s mission is to make Downtown a thriving and competitive environment for recruiting and retaining businesses, employees, residents, and visitors by delivering clean, safe, green, and better services that raise the standard of care and behavior in downtown.


What is Vibrant & Safe Downtown?

Vibrant & Safe Downtown (fka Minneapolis SafeZone Collaborative) brings public and private sectors together through collaborative strategies to make the heart of downtown safe and welcoming for those who live, work, and visit. In 2006, Vibrant & Safe Downtown was founded as a 501(c)3 by the business community in collaboration with local law enforcement and security partners to leverage strategic partnerships which enhance the vitality of downtown. In 2009, Vibrant & Safe Downtown became a wholly-controlled subsidiary of the Mpls Downtown Improvement District.


Is DID a government program?

No, Mpls DID is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization with a wholly controlled 501(c)3 subsidiary, Vibrant & Safe Downtown.


How is DID funded?

Mpls DID is funded largely by charges to commercial properties that are included as a special service charge on property tax invoices. Voluntary contributions are also collected from exempt properties including government, certain non-profit and residential parcels.
Service charges are based on a calculation of lineal frontage, gross building area and pedestrian demand.  


Is this another tax controlled by the City?

NO! The City’s role is more akin to that of “Fiscal Agent” using its special assessing authority to collect funds from the commercial properties within the district. 


As a resident, do my property taxes fund DID?

No. Per state statute residential properties located within the DID boundaries are exempt from DID's special service charge 


Who controls the funds DID receives?

The DID is business led and business managed.  We are governed and directed by a Board of Directors and operating committees comprised of commercial property owners, property managers, employers and private sector stakeholders. 

DID utilizes private sector contracting policies and is not subject to City procurement and labor requirements. 

Overview

  • Type: 501(c)6 Non-profit
  • Founded: 2008
  • Chief Executive Officer: Steve Cramer
  • Chief Operating Officer: Kathryn Reali
  • Service Start Date: July 1, 2009
  • District Blocks: 124+

Minneapolis DID PSA


What is the relationship between the mpls downtown council and DID?

Effective January 1, 2013, the boards of DID and mpls downtown council voted to align their governance structure and establishing the DID as a wholly-controlled subsidiary. This served to broaden the leadership team, thereby providing more resources and experience, enhancing the existing services and assuring that both organizations are unified in their mutual efforts to make downtown Mpls extraordinary.


Why can’t the City provide these services with existing tax revenues? What are we receiving from the taxes we already pay?

Nationally and locally, public agencies are struggling to find ways to fund the many demands, including public safety, education, transportation systems and basic infrastructure repair.   Property values fluctuate with the market, and resources from the state and national levels dramatically reduce.  This is not unique to Mpls or the current market cycle.  Many other cities are meeting this challenge by creating improvement districts and public-private partnerships. 

The city doesn't provide the additive services of the DID such as sidewalk sweeping and pressure washing, landscaping and ambassadors.  Even if constraining resources weren't challenging the City, arguably, the public sector is not well-suited to provide these above-standard services in a cost effective manner.  They have never been trained to provide these services.  Rather, Improvement Districts place provision of quality, impactful services squarely in the control of private businesses already adept at leveraging investment into results. The District does not relieve the City of its responsibilities for which we are paying taxes.


Our property already performs some of the DID services, will we be paying twice?

The overall image of downtown suffers from the contrast between the maintenance performed by individual properties. Without a method to provide consistent services to all of downtown, this continuing contrast is a detriment to the downtown economy. DID aims to provide services that create a consistent user experience throughout downtown. 

Many properties that perform a higher level of maintenance for their property, still find efficiencies in coordinating their work with that of DID.  


Are the DID ambassadors volunteers?

The Ambassadors are all paid employees of DID's vendor Block By Block


How can I apply for a job at DID?

 You can search and apply for available Ambassador positions online by clicking here


Why don't I see Ambassadors patrolling the skyways?

Mpls DID operates under the City of Minneapolis' Ordinance for Special Service Districts, which mandates that DID services can only be deployed in the public right-of-way. Skyways are privately owned and operated.  


What happens to DID's plants & decor at the end of each season?

Mpls DID installs around 15,000 annual and perennial plantings throughout downtown annually. Each year DID aims to install as many perennial plantings as possible to create a more sustainable program. The summer annuals remain in planters until the first frost at which point they are removed.
The winter greening program features spruce tips and pine branches with decorative elements.  The spruce pieces, like a christmas tree, are only viable for one season. However, all the decorative elements (birch logs, pine cones, etc.) are collected and reused.


Can DID ambassadors write tickets?

No, DID Ambassadors are not law enforcement. The Ambassadors do watch for suspicious or illegal behavior to report law enforcement when necessary. 


Can I Donate to Mpls DID?

 Yes! Please visit our donations and sponsorships page for more informaiton. 


What is the Nicollet Mall Advisory Board?

The Nicollet Mall Advisory Board (NMAB) was first created in the 1960's when a portion of Nicollet Avenue running through Downtown Minneapolis was redesigned as a pedestrian focused street.  At the time of this redevelopment the City of Minneapolis nominated business and community leaders along Nicollet Mall to oversee and provide guidance on maintenance, design aesthetics, programming and use of the right of way. 
Upon inception in 2009 the Mpls Downtown Improvement District took on the statutory responsibilities of the NMAB.
All events, marketing activities, promotions, and programming on Nicollet must be approved by the Mpls Downtown Improvement District. Visit www.OnNicollet.com to apply.