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Northampton BID aids our ‘exceptional downtown’

To the editor:

I am writing as a Northampton Business Improvement District member, landlord and member of the BID board of directors.

In my 35 years of living and doing business in the Pioneer Valley I have witnessed the ever-changing environment and evolution of making Northampton the envy of most small towns.

Many of the early entrepreneurs invested in Northampton before there was a promise of financial return. We now enjoy the fruits of their labors.

They pioneered the current environment we all have benefited from.

Five years ago a small group of entrepreneurs like the late Doug Kohl, Dan Yacuzzo, Joe Blumenthal, Rich Madowitz and Jack Finn, along with the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, saw the need to take the Northampton experience to the next level.

The proposition was simple; restore and preserve a weathered downtown with the support of the very people who benefit from its heritage. Not unlike the Community Preservation Act or the Northampton Historic District, the BID, while focused on downtown, has proven that a vibrant downtown benefits everyone — landlords, tenants and the city — with higher rooms and meals taxes, low vacancy rates and higher property values.

Over the last three years the BID has delivered a significant bang for the buck, like the cleanliness of downtown, flowers and an enhanced event calendar, to name but a few things.

The BID fee, like the CPA tax, represents a fractional cost of property values but delivers an exceptional downtown we have all grown to love and respect.

Many tenants of landlords who opted out of the BID have seen the value of this proposition and are paying their appropriate share.

The resources of the city, state and federal governments are stretched, to say the least. Precisely for this reason, the BID fills a much-needed gap to protect our collective investments.

I would respectfully ask that the opt-outs join with us and support the legislative change and keep our city a beacon and the greatest small town in New England.

Charles Bowles

Northampton

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