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DETROIT-A business improvement district, which could capture a local tax, is at the center of a new proposal for Detroit’s Eastern Market area. The Washington-based Urban Land Institute outlined a series of proposals for the more than century-old market area during a meeting of about 100 Eastern Market business owners and community members at Ford Field in Detroit.

Nine panel members spent a week on an intensive study of Eastern Market that included interviews of property owners, business owners and other stakeholders. Bill Lashbrook, senior vice president of the real estate lending division of Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, says the creation of a business-improvement district would help raise the money needed to fund an organization that would oversee development efforts at Eastern Market as well as day-to-day operation.

A business-improvement district is public-private partnership created to provide additional services and programs for a specific geographic area. The businesses and owners in a BID pay assessments in order to provide the money necessary to fund and manage these supplemental services, such as safety and security, sidewalk cleaning, landscape maintenance, and visitor information. BIDs are typically governed by non-profit organizations made up primarily of those who pay assessments.

Lashbrook also says a new non-profit organization should be formed that includes representation from all of the organizations in Eastern Market that represent divergent viewpoints, including the Eastern Market Advancement Coalition and the Eastern Market Merchants Association.

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