The benefits are many.
A partial list of the kinds of projects your fees fund is below.
Creating a spotless downtown.
Without your fees, the sidewalks downtown would not be steam cleaned as frequently as they are and they would not be cleaned with the super powerful equipment that is currently used. (For the record, individual businesses can sweep but are prohibited from using water to “hose down” the sidewalks, as that debris will flow directly to the bay. Steam cleaning is the most effective and the most environmentally responsible method.) Also, The Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association developed the Downtown Streets Team in 2004 and continue to fund their efforts.
Creating a safe downtown.
In addition to the association fees, many merchants in the downtown district also contribute fees to the downtown parking district which helped fund the building of the parking garages downtown (an ongoing cost) and fund the ongoing maintenance of the garages at an approximate cost of $1million each year. Along with maintenance of the garages, patrols by the Palo Alto Police Department and outreach efforts by the Downtown Streets Team are funded by these fees.
Creating a destination.
Your fees help keep downtown a great place to do business, whether you are a retailer, restaurant, start-up or a one-person office. Without your assessment, all the amenities downtown has to offer might not be available. There was a time before the existence of the business association that downtown was not a thriving, vibrant place to do business.
Bringing people to downtown to shop, dine and conduct business is critical to the success for everyone who works here. Without the generation of sales tax, (downtown provides the City of Palo Alto with the second highest rate of tax just behind Stanford Shopping Center), you would not enjoy the level of service you possess today.
Making certain that downtown is its own unique brand, one that differentiates itself from any other downtown, is an area of focus for the association. Creating this brand comes from not only ensuring an attractive downtown, but one that doesn’t mind tooting its own horn.
Creating an environment that is business friendly.
The Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association provides a conduit to leaders and staff at city hall. We don’t work for the City of Palo Alto; we work with them on your behalf. We represent you. From helping to develop public policy regarding public parking to smoking in downtown parks to noise ordinances to issues surrounding outdoor dining we are a stakeholder with a voice that can be heard amongst other stakeholders and Palo Alto's authorities.
Just some of the projects that have been funded or partially funded with or without partners or sponsors:
Cogswell Park rehabilitation
University Tunnel Rehabilitation
Cogswell Park wi fi hot spot
No amplified music in Lytton and Cogswell Plazas
Installation of American Flags along University Avenue
University Avenue landscape upgrades
Aurora interactive public art installation
Monthly sidewalk steam cleaning
Seasonal lamppost banner design and installation
Public Art review for University Avenue tunnels
Oversight of Friends of Lytton Plaza
Rebranding of the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association
Made in Downtown Palo Alto loyalty card program
Redesign of Palo Alto Downtown website
Establish and maintain facebook page
Code enforcement of encroachment permits outreach to restaurants
Clean Green Street Scene
World Music Day
Holiday Tree Lighting
Initiated and continue Downtown Crown program
Administer downtown parking committee
Before and after images of the steam cleaning efforts funded by your fees. These efforts augment what the City of Palo Alto provides.
Officers dedicated to downtown patrols are critical to the success of downtown and benefit visitors and businesses. Patrols are both on foot and in patrol cars and are both uniformed and in plain clothes.
Flags, banners and mass media advertising all help to build the downtown brand and make downtown a real destination bringing much needed sales tax revenue to Palo Alto.These efforts as as well as our partnerships with other non profits and private enterprises help keep your fees low.
The Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association is your single best resource for reaching city hall.
Photo left: Mayor Greg Scharff at the Mayor's 2013 State of the Union address.
Before and after images of the University Avenue tunnels. A project initiated by the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association and performed by the City of Palo Alto.