Anger at Northampton BID is misdirected
To the editor:
I have read with interest several letters from downtown property owners upset with the Northampton Business Improvement District. This is because of the state Legislature’s August vote that all BIDs be all-inclusive as far as property owners within that district must pay into that organization. A vote to continue a BID must occur every five years.
It seems the anger is misdirected. The Northampton BID did not lobby for this to happen. The Northampton BID was moving along nicely with the paying property owners, and those few of us that are also tenant members. The anger and crying foul would be better invested in writing to the legislators that created this new regulation. Perhaps if the same energy was directed with lobbying, the Legislature would consider changing this regulation to BIDs that will be formed, instead of all in existence.
However, what no one seems to be writing about is the fantastic work the Northampton BID has accomplished. Almost all of our sidewalks are cleaned on a daily basis. The retail and restaurant events, the flowers on the street, the hanging baskets of flowers, the holiday lights, the snow removal, the local and out-of-the-area advertising on TV, in magazines, newspapers and radio, all bring multitudes of people into our downtown.
This is good for all of us — including the opt-out property owners. If individuals had accomplished this on their own, there would not be a need for a BID, but they didn’t.
The volunteers and paid staff are diligently working to maintain a vibrant downtown for all to enjoy. They are not to blame for the new Massachusetts law.
They are deserving of our thanks and our ability to enjoy a beautiful, thriving, unique, artistic area to live, shop and dine, consult with our lawyers, see our therapists, go to our doctors, chat with our friends, enjoy music, art, dance, go to our chosen places of worship and exist peacefully.
Judith Fine is downtown business owner and tenant Business Improvement District member.