New business improvement district proposed for northern Dupont

The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, covering an area of southern Dupont, organized a tree-box competition in 2017. “Flight of the Bumblebees,” located at 1025 Connecticut Ave. NW, won the contest’s Best in Sustainability award. (photo courtesy of the Golden Triangle BID)

Northern Dupont Circle may be getting a business improvement district, an organization that would add a new levy on commercial property owners to help boost activity in the neighborhood.

Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans introduced a bill earlier this month that would authorize the creation of a BID encompassing a stretch of Connecticut Avenue north of Dupont Circle, as well as some of Massachusetts Avenue west of the circle.

Evans told The Current that he thinks a Dupont BID would “have a very positive and substantial impact” on the neighborhood and said that he believes the bill is likely to pass. The Committee on Finance and Revenue, which Evans chairs, has scheduled a hearing on the bill for Dec. 13.

“I think that it’s important to have a BID to try to get the city to focus on our neighborhood and to focus on some of the improvements that we desperately need here on Dupont Circle,” Michael Kain, a local commercial property owner who is helping organize the BID, told The Current.

According to Kain, the BID idea has the support of commercial property owners representing more than half of the area’s assessed value. The group would collect about $1.1 million in tax revenue in its first year, organizers estimate.

Kain said the group’s top goals include supporting streetscape improvements; working on homelessness issues in the neighborhood; making the area cleaner and safer; and maintaining a proposed city park just north of the Dupont Circle roundabout.

The proposed “cap park” would cover the underpass on the 1500 block of Connecticut to the north of the circle. Kain said that the city encouraged the neighborhood to have a BID to manage the park and oversee its maintenance.

The BID would also work to refresh the brand of Dupont Circle, which Kain said has lost some of its market share to areas of the city developing to the east of the circle. He said that the group plans to work on marketing efforts for the area and focus on attracting new retailers.

According to the group’s business plan, staff will work on projects including sidewalk cleaning and powerwashing; trash collection; graffiti removal; snow and ice removal; and maintenance of any part of the public streetscape that needs repair. In particular, Kain wants to focus on improving infrastructure, including decaying streetscapes in the area.

Dupont advisory neighborhood commissioner Daniel Warwick said that he has been hearing support from community members about the potential for a Dupont Circle BID.

“It’s just a great sign of our neighborhood investing in itself, and I really look forward to everything that is to come,” Warwick said.

Southern Dupont Circle already falls within a business improvement district: the Golden Triangle BID, which was founded in 1997 and covers an area roughly bordered by New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts avenues and 16th Street NW.