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Despite a major setback, Ronald M. Druker refuses to bid adieu to his BID. The president of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and a major landlord in the city’s Downtown Crossing shopping district, Druker has been leading the charge for implementation of a so-called Business Improvement District for the bustling retail sector. Under a BID, the city would levy special surcharges on property owners to pay for such things as added security or street cleaning. “Downtown Crossing is really in terrific shape, [but] I think the BID could make it that much better,” says Druker. “It would be a real plus for the district.”

Despite that sentiment, the city’s home rule petition to establish a BID has failed in past years to make it through the Massachusetts Legislature, and the just-concluded session is no different. After early momentum, the measure stalled in committee and never made it to the floor for a vote.In killing the bill, opponents such as State Rep. Marie Parente (D-Milford) questioned the need for a BID vehicle in one of the region’s strongest shopping districts, while the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association criticized the plan by claiming the private security force would actually compromise safety.

Druker dismisses those arguments, noting that BIDs have been established in thousands of other cities and towns nationally and have been credited with reinvigorating many of those urban shopping areas. The BID is often cited as a linchpin in the rebirth of New York City’s Times Square, for example, while a BID in Springfield has reportedly helped stabilize that Western Massachusetts community.

One ally in Druker’s efforts has been Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who first promoted the BID concept in 1996 and has since been coaxing it through the legislative maze. Mayoral spokesman Howard Leibowitz acknowledges the administration’s disappointment in the latest defeat, but adds that, “we’re going to try to keep it moving along.”

Downtown Crossing “is the hub of the local economy,” says Leibowitz. “It’s a major shopping area for the people who work and live downtown, and we want to make sure it continues to be a jewel of the city.”

Leibowitz and GBREB are meeting informally with key legislators to persuade them of the merits of their petition. Leibowitz believes it is possible that the BID could be revived in an informal session, although that would require the full support of the House and Senate.

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