Business Improvement District

Mission Statement

Who Are We?

Downtown property owners and merchants created the Helena Downtown Business Improvement District in the late 1980’s as a way to work together for the betterment of downtown and became Montana’s first BID. The organization was a state filed nonprofit. By 1993, as urban renewal was closing, downtown property owners approached the City to tax themselves to create a pool of funds to help with revitalization efforts.  The Helena Business Improvement District was created to enhance the physical environment of the greater downtown area to improve the value of properties in the area. The BID has worked to maintain a thriving downtown and works closely with Downtown Helena Inc. to market and promote Downtown Helena.

HBID is a 501 (C) (6), quasi-governmental agency created by State statute through a resolution of the City of Helena. After its initial creation, the BID has been renewed in 2000 and 2010 and 2020. The most recent petition and resolution creating the Helena BID was approved by the City Commission the 13th day of January 2020, Resolution No. 20589.

The organization represents property owners within Helena’s legally constituted city district. Revenues to fund the BID services are derived from a special assessment on the district’s property owners’ tax bill.

The BID purpose creates a vital avenue of support and growth as the catalyst for economic development in the heart of Helena. The role of the BID is essential for continued success in making Downtown Helena a great place to do business, invest, live, work, and play. The BID performs a variety of tasks downtown each year, including participation in the development of planning, beautification, and advocacy of the downtown infrastructure. In partnership with our sister organization, Downtown Helena Inc., we assist with organizing and executing events to draw more visitors and locals to the downtown.

The mission of the BID is to serve as a facilitator, provider and advocate for a planned, creative program that aims for the continual improvement of property values and properties in Downtown Helena.

The HBID is operated by a volunteer Board of Trustees who are property owners or designated representatives from within the district. The Board of Trustees are approved by the Helena City Commissioners and serve four-year terms with an option to renew for one additional four-year term. The employees of the HBID include an executive director and staff to support daily operations and execute programs.

BID Boundaries

The Work of the BID

The HBID has proven itself to be a vital part of the downtown Helena community. On an annual basis, the HBID provides the following streetscape and beautification services to our property owners.

Banners

Banner Program Overview

The Banner Program is currently under review and is not accepting applications. 

In 2018,  a banner program was created. The program allows for businesses and events to promote their activity from cobra poles located in the district. Funds received from the program cover maintenance of poles and installation. Any funds above that cost are pooled into the HBID Façade Improvement Program.

HBID’s banner program:

  • Identifies the Downtown service area
  • Activates the public space
  • Adds color and vitality to the Downtown streetscapes
  • Publicizes a diverse range of events, activities and attractions that draw people into Downtown Helena

The intent of the banner program is to place banners on available street light poles year round. The poles are available for organizations to promote cultural, entertainment, artistic and sporting events or other special events and area attractions of public interest.

A Little History

In 2015, the banner program redesigned and implemented new general banners; a winter season banner and a variety of summer season banners. The total cost for this revamp was $22,746.25 which included 256 combined summer and winter banners along with new pole parts.

In 2021, we updated our summer banners by purchasing 161 “SHOP DINE PLAY” red banners. The total cost for the banners was $12,639.55.

The annual reoccurring cost for the maintenance and installation of the banners is more than $5500.

Flowers

For the summer season, the HBID hangs flower baskets from light poles throughout the HBID district. As many as 250 baskets have been purchased and maintained. In 2019, a new flower basket design and quantity of 125 was implemented. Additionally, the HBID maintains the so-called “bulb outs” along the 300 and 400 blocks of Last Chance Gulch. Annually, we spend over $15,500 on floral supplies, installation, and maintenance.

Holiday Décor

The HBID, along with Downtown Helena Inc., organize the annual Parade of Lights festival the day after Thanksgiving. To help celebrate this well-attended event, the HBID works with businesses along the downtown core to decorate Last Chance Gulch and the Pedestrian Mall with ribbons, lights, and bows. Together, there are well over 150 pieces of holiday décor installed. All pieces of holiday décor are supplied and stored by the HBID. Working with Northwestern Energy and our downtown businesses, in 2019, the HBID will implement new lighted snowflakes along selected street poles with power. In 2018, we implemented the first snowflake. We look to enhance our downtown décor annually and work with the City of Helena to make such improvements.

Trash Removal

One of the HBID’s most practical and useful activities is the collection of trash throughout the downtown. On behalf of our property owners, the HBID maintains, empties, and removes waste from 23 sidewalk trash receptacles located throughout the district. Without the HBID’s trash services, the downtown may well become a litter-covered thoroughfare. The annual cost for trash is around $10,000 which includes labor and supplies.

Downtown Helena, Inc. Board of Trustees

To become a BID Board member you apply with the City of Helena. Trustees serve terms of four (4) years and may serve two (2) consecutive terms.

https://www.helenamt.gov/commission/boards-and-committees.html

Seth Brandenberger, Board Member
Term Expires: 10/31/22 - Interim

Seth is serving an interim position.

Why Did you choose to sit on the board in a volunteer capacity?

Downtown Helena is a historically unique and special place.  I want to see it continue to grow and attract more vibrant business. I hope to build on the accomplishments of the BID for an even better downtown.

What do you love most about Downtown Helena?

The fact that I can walk to shops, food, drinks and events.  It seems like there is always something going on in downtown Helena.

What is your affiliation to downtown?

I have been an owner of the Union Market Building since 2006 and the Pita Pit since 2019.

Jake Heaton, Board Member
40 West Lawrence Street
Term Expires: 10/31/2023

Jake is serving his first term.

Why did you choose to sit on the board in a volunteer capacity?

I wanted to be on the board because I want to continue to help the businesses and culture of downtown Helena thrive. The downtown area is such a great part of our community that ties so many people together and it’s important that we continue to invest in this part of our community.

What do you love most about Downtown Helena?

I love the diversity of our downtown. There is such a great blend of history, arts, recreation, shopping, and entertainment all within walking distance of each other. I love being able to walk from work to stores, restaurants, or the trail system so easily.

What is your affiliation to downtown?

I work at Allegra Marketing/Print/Mail, an anchor Downtown Helena business that supports so many other Downtown Helena businesses, nonprofits, and organizations.

Sean Morrison, Board Member
111 N Last Chance Gulch, Ste 3B
Term Expires: October 31, 2023 - Interim
Sean is serving an interim position.
Why did you choose to sit on the board in a volunteer capacity?

I moved back to Helena after spending 10 years between Washington, D.C. and Boston, MA, in part because of how vibrant I saw our downtown becoming. I also saw opportunity for Downtown Helena to become even more vibrant, to really become and exceptional place to live, play, and work.

What do you love most about Downtown Helena?

Downtown Helena is unique-it is beautiful, historic, and so close to thousand of acres of public forest. I do not think there is anything like it in the world.

What is your affiliation to downtown?

I am an attorney at Morrison Law Firm, PLLC, which is located in the Arcade Building (111 N. Last Chance Gulch). My father, who I practice with, is a co-owner of the building. We are both big advocates for downtown.

Mark Roylance, Board Member
428 N. Last Chance Gulch
Term Expires: Term: 10/31/2022

Mark is currently serving his second term.

Why did you choose to sit on the board in a volunteer capacity?

I joined the board to help Downtown Helena realize its potential and was fortunate to have started my tenure at the beginning of the Downtown Master Planning process.

What do you love most about Downtown Helena?

I have lived all over the Northwest, but Helena struck me as special the first time I saw it. The mashup of impressive historic architecture and rugged topography gives Helena’s downtown a rich and fascinating character, not to mention unequalled access to a remarkable trail system.

What is your affiliation to Downtown?

I am an architect with Mosaic Architecture and I am passionate about vibrant urban places.

Rex Seeley, Vice-Chair
708 N Last Chance Gulch
Term Expires: Term: 10/31/24

Rex is serving his second term and was elected board Vice-Chair in February 2019. He was elected Chair in February 2021.

Why did you choose to sit on the board in a volunteer capacity?

I joined to ensure the assessment was being spent wisely and used to promote downtown properties. I believe I strong downtown leads to a strong city.

What do you love most about Downtown Helena?

Growing up and currently, my family would shop downtown because of the variety and being able to interact with the business owners. Downtown is a fun place full of activity.

What is your affiliation to Downtown?

I have businesses and properties downtown.

Lee Shubert, Chair
21 North Last Chance Gulch, Suite 105
Term Expires: Term: 10/31/21

Lee is serving his first term. Lee was elected Chair in February 2019 – February 2021. He began serving as Vice-Chair in July of 2021.

Why did you choose to sit on the board in a volunteer capacity?

As a downtown resident I have, and have had, an abiding interest in the success, development, and preservation of Helena’s historic downtown.

What do you love most about Downtown Helena?

The convenience. Living in the Placer Center, my wife and I are able to walk to many of the entertainment venues and restaurants in the area.

What is your affiliation to Downtown?

In addition to my residence, my son-in-law operate The BaseCamp.

Ryan Stavnes, Board Member
Term Expires: Term: 10/31/24

Ryan is serving is second term.

Why did you choose to sit on the board in a volunteer capacity?

 I choose to be on the Business Improvement District board in a volunteer capacity as it’s a great way to lead by example. We have such a great Downtown area, and I love to see the progress made and the steps to make it improve even more. 

What do you love most about Downtown Helena?

 I love the spirit of Downtown Helena, and there’s a great potential for those to live, work and recreate in our micropolitan-style of Downtown.

What is your affiliation to downtown?

I am in the real estate profession, and live and work downtown. It’s so nice having many things within close walking distance, everything from entertainment, food and beverage, the arts, and wonderful residential options too.