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. (PDF file, 151 kb, 1 page)

Local Government Center educational materials may be viewed and printed using Adobe Acrobat. You must have this program installed on your computer. A copy of this program is available free from Adobe.

Educational Support Materials

LGC Fact Sheet #9: Wisconsin Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) – (PDF file, 188 kb, 4 pages)
Creating a BID – (PDF file, 32 kb, 1 page
Directory of BID Contacts  – (PDF file, 281 kb, 15 pages)
State Statutes Regulating BIDs: Section 66.1109

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Legal Requirements for Minimum and Maximum BID Assessments? – (PDF file, 36 kb, 1 page)

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.

Business Improvement Districts and Main Streets (teleconference, May 17, 2017). Chuck Law discusses the creation and administration of BIDS, as well as lessons learned during their 30-year history in Wisconsin. You can order a recorded version in audiostream or USB drive format using the Register/Purchase page.

Related Reading

A to Z of Business Improvement Districts via the Project for Public Spaces. This website provides an overview of what BIDs are and the various actions they can take. Focused on BIDs in New York, it includes links to a step-by-step guide to creating a BID and a comparison of the pros and cons of BIDs.

Becker, Carol. 2008. Government without Government: Alternatives to Market and Government Failure. Hamline University Doctorate Dissertation. (PDF file, 1.1 Mb, 172 pages)

Downtown Research and Development Center. 2013. Business Improvement Districts: Financing Downtown Growth. Available from the Downtown Research and Development 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.

Kline, Aaron; Dunn, Catherine; Giezler, Katie; Jordet, Peter; and Noyce, Sidney. Self-Supported Municipal Improvement Districts: A Toolkit for Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. Prepared for the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this guide describes elements of successful BIDs, focusing mainly on BIDs in Iowa. This toolkit is meant for groups seeking to achieve economic development goals such as property owners and businesses. (PDF file, 4,882 kb, 193 pages)

Law, Charles. 1992. BIDs in Wisconsin: An Interim Report. In Action News – Newsletter of the Wisconsin Downtown Action Council. June/July. (PDF file, 976 kb, 4 pages)

Law, Charles. 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. (PDF file, 148 kb)

Law, Charles and Richmond, Beth. 2018. An Examination of Wisconsin BIDs. In The Municipality, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Vol. 113, No. 7, 4 pages)

MacDonald, Heather.  Why Business Improvement Districts Work. This article provides an explanation of what BIDs are. It goes into more detail about the relationship of BIDs to government, and the typical types of opposition that BIDs can face. BIDs are often the necessary counterpoint to local government. MacDonald concludes that BIDs provide important amenities that governments would be unable to provide by themselves.

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

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

Prusak, Sidney. 2017. Articulating the Power of the Main Street and Special Assessment District Collaboration. Madison, Wisconsin. 13 pp. (PDF, 363 kb)

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 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mb, 62 pages)
Downtown Baraboo
Baraboo 2017 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 785 kb, 13 pages)
Downtown Beloit
Beloit 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 132 kb, 9 pages)
Black River Falls Downtown Association
Black River Falls 2018 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 452 kb, 11 pages)
Brodhead Business Improvement District
Brodhead 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 11 kb, 1 page)
Chippewa Falls Main Street
Deerfield Business Improvement District
Deerfield 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 119 mb, 6 pages)
Definitely De Pere
DePere 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 6 mb, 27 pages)
Eagle River Main Street Program
Eagle River 2016 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 115 kb, 3 pages)
Downtown Eau Claire, Inc.
Eau Claire Development 
Eau Claire North Barstow 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 13 pages)
Eau Claire South Barstow 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 14 pages)
Eau Claire Water Street 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 13 pages)
Eau Claire West Grand 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 11 pages)
Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership
Fond du Lac 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 26 kb, 2 pages)
Downtown Green Bay, Inc.
Downtown Green Bay 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 973 kb, 20 pages)
Green Bay Olde Main Street 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 935 kb, 16 pages)
Green Bay Broadway BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 735 kb, 17 pages)
Military Avenue, Inc.
Green Bay Military Avenue BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 11 pages)
Downtown Hartford
Hartford BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 74 kb, 3 pages)
Downtown Hartland
Hartland BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 709 kb, 7 pages)
Downtown Kenosha 
Kenosha Lakeshore BID 2018 Operating Plan (PDF, 270 kb, 2 pages)
Downtown Lake Geneva
Downtown Madison
Madison Central BID 2019 Operating Plan
Main Street Marshfield, Inc.
Marshfield BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 467 kb, 15 pages)
Menomonee Falls Downtown
Menomonee Falls BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 6 mb, 15 pages)
Main Street Menomonie, Inc.
Menomonie BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 230 kb, 21 pages)
Historic Third Ward Association, Inc.
Milwaukee BID #2 – Historic Third Ward 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 3 mb, 54 pages)
Historic Mitchell Street

Milwaukee BID #4 – Greater Mitchell Street 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 3 mb, 45 pages)
Westown Association
Milwaukee BID #5 – Westown 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 3 mb, 30 pages)
Historic King Drive Business Improvement District #8
Milwaukee BID #8 – Historic King Drive 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 4 mb, 38 pages)
Near West Side 
Milwaukee BID #10 – Near West Side 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 4 mb, 42 pages)
Brady Street BID
Milwaukee BID #11 – Brady Street 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 3 mb, 54 pages)
Milwaukee BID #13 – Oakland Ave 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 748 kb, 20 pages)
Milwaukee BID #15 – Riverwalk 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mb, 46 pages)
Uptown Crossing
Northwest Side Community Development Corporation
Milwaukee BID #19 – Villard Ave 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 890 kb, 22 pages)
The East Side BID
Milwaukee BID #20 – East Side 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mb, 20 pages)
Milwaukee Downtown

Milwaukee BID #21 Downtown 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 5 mb, 70 pages)
Riverworks Development Corp. (Riverworks BIDs #25 & #36)
Milwaukee BID #25 –  Riverworks 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 4 mb, 44 pages)
Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc.
Milwaukee BID #26 – Menomonee Valley 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mbbu, 30 pages)
Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation
Milwaukee BID #27- West Burleigh Street 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 32 pages)
Discover North Avenue
Milwaukee BID #28 – North Avenue Gateway 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 22 pages)
Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation
Milwaukee BID #31 – Havenwoods 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mb, 34 pages)
North Avenue Fond du Lac Marketplace BID
Milwaukee BID #32 – North Avenue Fond du Lac 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 4 mb, 46 pages)
Milwaukee BID #35 – Kinnickinnic River 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 28 pages)
The Corridor, Inc.
Milwaukee BID #37 – 30th Street Industrial Corridor 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 3 mb, 30 pages)
Cesar E. Chavez Drive
Milwaukee BID #38 – Cesar Chavez Drive 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 4 mb, 36 pages)
Milwaukee BID #39 – Marketplace 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 38 pages)
Gateway to Milwaukee
Milwaukee BID #40 – Airport Gateway 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 4 mb, 54 pages)
Historic Downer Avenue
Milwaukee BID #41 – Downer Avenue 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mb, 52 pages)
Schlitz Park
Milwaukee BID #42 – Schlitz Park 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 32 pages)
Historic Highway 41 – 27th Street BID
Milwaukee BID #43 – Historic Highway 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 5 mb, 80 pages)
Granville BID
Milwaukee BID #48 – Granville 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mb, 48 pages)
Milwaukee BID #49 – Reed Street Yards 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 1 mb, 30 pages)
Gateway to Milwaukee

Milwaukee BID #50 – 13th & West Oklahoma Ave 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 3 mb, 32 pages)
Harbor District
Milwaukee BID #51 – Harbor District 51 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 5 mb, 31 pages)
Monroe 2017 Operating Plan (PDF, 335 kb, 9 pages)
Future Neenah
Neenah 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 4 mb, 54 pages)
Future Omro
Omro 2018 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 491 kb, 8 pages)
Downtown Oshkosh
Downtown Oshkosh 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 680 kb, 16 pages)
Main Street Portage
Portage 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 80 KB, 4 pages)
Port Washington Main Street
Discover Douglas Avenue
Racine Douglas Avenue 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 335 kb, 16 pages)
Downtown Racine Corporation
Downtown Racine 2018 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 315 kb, 12 pages)
Explore Uptown Racine
Uptown Racine BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 235 kb, 16 pages)
Rice Lake Main Street
Ripon Main Street, Inc.
River Falls Main Street
River Falls 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 103 kb, 1 page)
Shawano Downtown
Shawano 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 350 kb, 4 pages)
Sheboygan Harbor Centre BID
Sheboygan Harbor Centre 2018 Operating Plan (PDF, 136 kb, 5 pages)
Sheboygan Falls Chamber-Main Street 
Sheboygan Falls 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 102 kb, 6 pages)
Shorewood BID
Shorewood 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 400 kb, 19 pages)
Shop Spooner
Spooner 2016 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 91 kb, 3 pages)
Downtown Sun Prairie
Sun Prairie 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 536 kb, 16 pages)
Superior BID
Superior BID 2016 Operating Plan (PDF, 62 kb, 2 pages)
Tomahawk Main Street
Tomahawk BID 2019 Operating Plan (PDF, 777 kb, 7 pages)
Two Rivers Main Street, Inc.
City of Waupun
Wausau River District BID
Wausau 2019 BID Operating Plan  (PDF, 315 kb, 13 pages)
Village of Wauwatosa Business Improvement District
Wauwatosa 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 180 kb, 12 pages)
Downtown West Allis, Inc.
West Allis 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 7 mb, 15 pages)
Downtown West Bend Association
West Bend 2019 BID Operating Plan (PDF, 2 mb, 32 pages)
Whitefish Bay Business Improvement District
Downtown Wisconsin Dells BID