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BOSTON-Since the proposal to develop a business improvement district in the Downtown Crossing area here died in the legislature, its chances of getting resurrected look bleak. BIDs have been developed in a number of urban centers across the country as a way of helping these areas compete with malls by improving the district’s cleanliness and security.

A statewide option was passed by the Legislature in the early 1990s to allow communities to establish BIDs, but property owner must be allowed to opt out of the plan during the first 30 days. The BID for Downtown Crossing was filed as a home-rule petition with the state Legislature, but it died in committee last year and has yet to be resubmitted. According to Ed Shanahan, CEO of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, “There was some initial opposition in the legislature because of a misunderstanding” about the role of the security personnel. Police officers were concerned that the BID’s security personnel would replace them in the district, which Shanahan says is not true. “They would be guides,” he tells GlobeSt.com, but those concerns, which were raised to the legislature, along with a requirement that all property owners in the BID district would have to contribute funds, caused the proposal to die.

Shanahan’s group supports the BID but he worries that the recent terror attacks along with a sluggish economy make the proposal less likely to pass. “Last year was the opportune time to implement the BID,” he notes. “I don’t have the level of enthusiasm I had last year.” And, adds Shanahan, it is the Downtown Crossing district that will lose out. “”We represent the vast majority of owners and they agreed that it made sense,” he says.”The district will be cleaner, more welcoming and safer with a lot of assistance. The effort is certainly being held in abeyance now.

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