The Helena Business Improvement District continues to be a leading force within the Helena business community. The BID strives to build a stronger and more efficient collaboration among the existing property and business owners through multi-media and electronic based communication and coordination; clean and safe projects; landscaping improvements and stronger promotions. Our goal is to create a vital avenue of support as the organization serving as the catalyst in economic development in the Heart of Helena. The role of the BID is essential for continued success in building the momentum in making Helena a great place to do business, invest, live, work and play.
Interested in what the BID has accomplished in the last year? Click here to view the 2013-14 Business Improvement District’s Annual Report!
The BID Board of Trustees adopted their strategic plan to emulate the National MainStreet Model. The National MainStreet Model focuses on the four working principles of Organization, Design, Economic Restructuring and Promotion. Each Trustee has made the commitment to serve on one or more of these working committees to ensure the stated goals and objectives proposed in the work plan and budget are kept on task.
Downtown Master Plan
What is it about downtowns you’ve visited that makes them memorable? How did that community achieve their vision? The Master Plan will be a visioning and guiding document for the management and future growth of Downtown Helena by the Helena Business Improvement District, the City of Helena, and other agencies. Master planning is an important tool for guiding downtown economic growth.
Other Montana communities have completed master plans that have spurred economic growth in their downtowns such as Bozeman, Missoula, Kalispell, and most recently Hamilton. “The City of Hamilton adopted its Downtown Master Plan in June of 2014, and the Hamilton Downtown Association has taken the lead in its implementation. The completed Master Plan included prioritized action items, and a timeline for their implementation. This has been extremely useful to me, as the HDA Coordinator, in showing us where to focus our energy. The action items also identify whether there are policy implications for the City Council, and who should take the lead on them. A clear master plan, with thorough public involvement (surveys, public meetings, focus groups), has been very beneficial, and it’s a reference upon which I draw regularly,” said Russ Lawrence, Coordinator of the Hamilton Downtown Association. “Having a Master Plan for Downtown Missoula has been an extraordinary tool for guiding the decision making of all parties vested in our downtown,” said Linda McCarthy, Director of the Downtown Missoula Partnership. “It guides goal setting and allocation of resources for our downtown organizations, and it has put our municipalities, developers and stakeholders on the same page in terms of our future. The Missoula Downtown Master Plan is some of the best work we have done for our community.”
“We are excited to launch this process,” said Tracy Reich, Executive Director of the Helena Business Improvement District. “Bringing the public together with Downtown stakeholders to create a vision for downtown and then putting together strategies to accomplish that vision is a vital tool for Downtown and the Business Improvement District. It’s important that the citizens of Helena have a say in what their downtown will look like in 5, 10, 20 years and understand the processes that will take place to achieve that vision.”
The City of Helena is partnering with the HBID to create the plan. The City Community Development Department will be the lead for the City on the project. “The City is excited to partner with the Helena BID on this master plan project,” said Sharon Haugen, Community Development Director. “The process represented in the RFP will provide the City, the BID and others a blueprint for moving forward to creating a stronger and more vibrant downtown, will help inform the City on what changes may be needed in our ordinances and regulations to have achieve that vision. It will also help identify the many partners who have an interest in the downtown area.”
Why create a master plan? Nick Kalogeresis, Vice President of the Lakota Group and former Program Officer for the national Trust Main Street Center, recently wrote in the Main Street News, “A downtown master plan is one of the most important sustainability documents a Main Street community can have as it reaffirms the downtown’s role as the economic, cultural, and social center of the community. Downtown master plans have long been developed and adopted by Main Street programs and municipalities to guide decision making for public improvements, private investments, and changes to existing zoning codes and regulatory mechanisms.”
He continues to say, “These plans often have specific elements related to streetscape improvements, open space and parks, historic preservation, land-use and development opportunities, transportation and parking, and governmental and cultural facilities. Downtown master plans can also address sustainability concerns such as the reuse of historic buildings and existing infrastructure, the mixture of commercial and residential land uses to encourage pedestrian activity and less reliance on autos, and the guidance of development and reuse of vacant parcels and land inside, rather than outside, the downtown area.”
Request for Proposals Released:
The Helena Business Improvement District (HBID) is seeking a consultant or team of consultants to assist the HBID and the City of Helena in creating a Downtown Helena Master Plan. The Master Plan will be a visioning and guiding document for the management and future growth of Downtown Helena. The planning process will be complete by March 31, 2016, if not before, with the adoption of the plan by the City Commission.
Applications are due by 5 pm April 20, 2015. Click here to view the Request for Proposals.
Greening America’s Capitals
Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies. This program assists three to five communities per year. Click here to view more information about this project.
Montana Main Street Program
The Montana Main Street Program, established in 2005 and currently serving twenty-four communities across the state, is a collaborative effort between the Community Development Division and the Montana Office of Tourism at the Montana Department of Commerce. The Montana Main Street Program helps communities strengthen and preserve their historic downtown commercial districts by focusing on economic development, urban revitalization, and historic preservation through long-range planning, organization, design, and promotion.
Helena BID Board of Trustees
|Randy Riley, Chair
Wells Fargo Bank
350 N. Last Chance Gulch
613 N. Last Chance Gulch
825 Helena Ave.
40 W. 14th St.
55 W. 14th St.
333 N. Last Chance Gulch
Helena Business Improvement District Staff
Tracy Reich Jennifer duToit
Executive Director Administrative Assistant
Haley Miller Sherri Dowling
Program Coordinator Financial Coordinator