Consulting firm hired to revitalize Washington Street

Consulting firm hired to revitalize Washington Street

But some worry that it's a means to pass costs to businesses

By Tom Jennemann
Reporter staff writer

As a result, the city has brought in The Marketing Department, a firm says it that does grass roots marketing to help businesses "lure customers back from the big box raiders."

Mayor David Roberts said that The Marketing Department will consult businesses on a one-on-one basis and hold workshops to help retailers work together and grow their customer base.

"Our retail district has many challenges to overcome. There's the lack parking and the escalating rent structure, just to name two," Roberts said. "But this administration is committed to having an exciting downtown and an exciting main street."

Moving toward an SID

But some theorize that this step is a precursor by the Roberts administration toward establishing a Special Improvement District (SID) in the city's retail corridor.

An SID is a state-approved zone where the city can levy a special tax on business owners that goes to neighborhood improvements, advertising, and maintenance. A special SID organization is formed to come up with a budget each year. Jersey City has several SIDs.

Since taking office, Roberts has supported the idea of an SID because he said it will create more funding and services for Washington Street.

But a SID can be double-edged. On one hand, the extra tax can go to fa

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