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Business Improvement Districts - BIDs

A Facebook page has been created to facilitate the exchange of news and information of interest to BID managers, their Boards, and interested parties. Stay informed by liking "Wisconsin Business Improvement Districts - BIDs". Like the Wisconsin BIDs Facebook page.

Wisconsin Act 184, signed into law in 1984, gives Wisconsin municipalities (i.e., cities, villages and towns) the power to establish one or more Business Improvement Districts within their community and an assessment methodology that allows business properties within that geographic area to contribute to programs aimed at promotion, management, maintenance and development of that district. BID assessments are restricted to commercial and industrial properties subject to real estate tax. Tax-exempt properties (i.e., religious, public utility, or government properties) or those used exclusively as residences cannot be included in the assessment district.

The University of Wisconsin-Extension (UWEX), through its statewide network of county-based UWEX educators, is a leader in helping Wisconsin communities examine and evaluate how Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) can support their economic development plans. Read more about UW-Extension's BID education work. (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 152 kb)

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Educational Support Materials

LGC Fact Sheet #9: Wisconsin Business Improvement Districts - BIDs (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 188 kb)
Creating a BID (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 32 kb)
Directory of BID Contacts
(Adobe PDF icon PDF, 178 kb)
State Statutes Regulating BIDs: Section 66.1109
(Adobe PDF icon PDF, 12 kb)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Legal Requirements for Minimum and Maximum BID Assessments? (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 36 kb)

Related Educational Programs

Since 2003, UW-Extension's Local Government Center has helped coordinate and offer a series of annual programs aimed at educating Business Improvement District managers, their Board members and interested parties about BID operations and programming. View seminar dates.

Related Reading

Becker, Carol. 2008. Government without Government: Alternatives to Market and Government Failure. Hamline University Doctorate Dissertation. (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 1.1 Mb)

Downtown Research and Development Center. 2013. Business Improvement Districts: Financing Downtown Growth. Available from the Center's webpage for $29.95. This publication offers a useful structure for starting a BID, with a particular emphasis on drawing in private sector leadership and face-to-face contact. The article focuses on the steps needed to take prior to BID approval, including determining if a BID is useful for the area, gaining neighborhood support, and planning and executing a vision and budget. While there are few Wisconsin specific examples, the author offers clear examples and a strong distinction between the services, programming, and outcomes of large and small BIDs.

Law, Charles. 1992. BIDs in Wisconsin: An Interim Report. In Action News - Newsletter of the Wisconsin Downtown Action Council. June/July. (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 976 kb)

Law, Chuck. 2001. Business Improvement District (BID) Development in Wisconsin. In Let's Talk Business: Ideas for Expanding Retail and Services in Your Community. Madison, WI: Center for Community Economic Development, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Issue 55. March. (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 148 kb)

Mitchell, Jerry. 1999. Business Improvement Districts and Innovative Service Delivery. Arlington, VA: PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government, 32 p. (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 152 kb)

Mitchell, Jerry. 2008. Business Improvement Districts and the Shape of American Cities. State University of New York Press.

Related Links

Below are several related Internet Resources that may be of interest. The University of Wisconsin-Extension assumes no responsibility for the quality or integrity of the sites listed. The viewpoints and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of UWEX.

Wisconsin BID Websites and Operating Plans

Appleton Downtown Inc.
Appleton 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 547 kb)
Downtown Baraboo
Baraboo 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 785 kb)
Downtown Beloit
City of Berlin
Black River Falls Downtown Association
Chippewa Falls Main Street
Eagle River Revitalization Program
Downtown Eau Claire, Inc.
Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership
Downtown Green Bay, Inc. (also links to Olde Main Street)
Downtown Green Bay 2011-12 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 190 kb)
Olde Main Street 2012 Budget (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 65 kb)
On Broadway, Inc.
Kenosha Lakeshore Business Improvement District
Kenosa 2011 & 2012 BID Budgets (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 73 kb)
Madison Central Business Improvement District
Madison 2011 BID Property Assessments (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 516 kb)
Main Street Marshfield, Inc.
Marshfield 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 623 kb)
Main Street Menomonie, Inc.
Historic Village Centre Business Improvement District of Menomonee Falls
Menomonee Falls 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 508 kb)
Historic Third Ward Association, Inc.
Milwaukee BID #2 - Historic Third Ward 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 71 kb)
Westown Association
Milwaukee BID #5 - Westown 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 1.4 Mb)
Historic King Drive Business Improvement District #8
Milwaukee BID #8 - Historic King Drive 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 226 kb)
Brady Street Business Improvement District #11
Milwaukee BID #11 - Brady Street 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 25 kb)
Uptown Crossing Business Improvement District #16
Milwaukee BID #16 - Uptown Crossing 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 1.3 Mb)
Northwest Side Community Development Corporation
Milwaukee BID #17 - Northwest Area 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 74 kb)
The East Side Business Improvement District #20
Milwaukee BID #20 - East Side 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 195 kb)
Milwaukee Downtown BID #21   
Milwaukee BID #21 - Downtown 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 4.0 Mb)
Riverworks Development Corp. (Riverworks BIDs #25 & #36)
Milwaukee BID #25 - Riverworks 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 116 kb)
Milwaukee BID #36 - Riverwoprks II 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 183 kb)
Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc.
Milwaukee BID #26 - Menomonee Valley 2010-2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 579 kb)
Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation
Milwaukee BID #27 - Burleigh St 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 1.1 Mb)
Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation
Milwaukee BID #31 - Havenwoods 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 60 kb)
North Avenue Fond du Lac Marketplace BID #32
Milwaukee BID #32 - North Ave Marketplace 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 813 kb)
The Corridor, Inc.
Milwaukee BID #37 - 30th St Industrial Corridor 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 104 kb)
Gateway to Milwaukee
Milwaukee BID #40 - Airport Gateway 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 261 kb)
Schlitz Park
Milwaukee BID #42 - Schlitz Park 2011 Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 40 kb)
Historic Highway 41
Milwaukee BID #43 - Historic Highway 41 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 41 kb)
Future Neenah
Neenah 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 2.4 Mb)
Omro Business Improvement District
Omro 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 560 kb)
Downtown Oshkosh
Main Street Portage
Port Washington Main Street
Downtown Racine Corporation
Racine County Economic Development Corporation
Downtown Rhinelander, Inc.
Ripon Main Street, Inc.
River Falls Main Street
River Falls 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 880 kb)
Harbor Centre (Sheboygan) Business Improvement District
Shorewood Business Improvement District 
Shorewood 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 388 kb)
Downtown Sun Prairie
Sun Prairie 2011 BID Annual Report (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 1.9 Mb)
Tomahawk Main Street
Two Rivers Main Street, Inc.
Historic Downtown Waukesha and Riverwalk
Wausau River District
City of Waupun
Waupun 2012 BID Budget (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 90 kb)
Village of Wauwatosa Business Improvement District
Wauwatosa 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 6.8 Mb)
Downtown West Allis, Inc.
West Allis 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 4.4 Mb)
Downtown West Bend Association
Whitefish Bay Business Improvement District
Whitefish Bay 2011 BID Operating Plan (Adobe PDF icon PDF, 1.1 Mb)
Downtown Dells

If you have any questions or comments about the Wisconsin Business Improvement District web page, e-mail Chuck Law (chuck.law@uwex.edu).

This page last modified: October 27, 2015

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