The Association originally charged dues from each downtown Grass Valley, California business. They put on monthly promotions to bring business to Grass Valley, California. Promotions included the July Sidewalk Sale, the Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway, Easter Coloring Contest and Cornish Christmas was organized by the Banner Grange with the cooperation of the Grass Valley, California Chamber of Commerce. The Grange initially received $1,500 for their services which included organizing the street vendors and entertainment. The Grass Valley, California Chamber answered phone calls, wrote letters of invite and thank you and acted as a clearing house for Cornish Christmas needs.
The Grass Valley, California Chamber billed the retail merchant members for their dues, organized the monthly luncheons, handled the banking and bookkeeping, and answered phone inquiries.
In 1979 the Grass Valley, California Downtown Merchants held a wine tasting that raised $7,000 to form a Grass Valley, California Downtown Assessment District. The purpose of the Grass Valley, California Downtown Assessment District was to insure that each Grass Valley downtown business paid it's fair share so that the Grass Valley downtown could better promote downtown Grass Valley, California.
In 1981 some members of the Grass Valley, California Retail Merchants Association canvassed the area in preparation to ask the Grass Valley, California City Council to form an assessment District. The Retail Merchants and the Grass Valley, California Chamber met to discuss possible areas of duplication and servicing of the communities needs.
The attempt to form an assessment district was successful and it was named the Grass Valley Downtown Association. The Grass Valley Downtown Association left the chamber office and hired a part time project manager. AB 1693 established in 1981 with annual assessments of $20,000.
After a succession of three project managers, the Grass Valley Downtown Association decided to pattern its organization after the National Main Street Program. The Grass Valley Downtown Association raised enough money to hire a full time Project Manager and hired Tom Guzman.
In 1984, the Grass Valley Downtown Association decide to pursue the "Main Street" approach to downtown revitalization and took part in the Main Street teleconference.
In 1985, the Grass Valley Downtown Association adopted the methodology of the Main Street USA program and put in place our current program. This is a comprehensive approach using the four points of downtown revitalization as set forth by the National Main Street Network: Organization, Promotion, Economic Restructuring, and Design. This same year, the Grass Valley Downtown Association hired it's first full time project manager.
In 1986, Grass Valley became an officially recognized self initiated "Main Street" City by the State of California.
In 1989 the California Department of Commerce, the agency that administered the California Main Street Program, placed several conditions on Self-Initiated Main Street Cities. These included the requirements of completing monthly reports and attending all project manager meetings.
The Grass Valley Downtown Association
Who Are We, Where Did We Come From and What Do We Do?
In September of 1984 a group of Grass Valley, California downtown merchants, members of the Grass Valley, California City Council, the Mayor of Grass Valley, California, and the Grass Valley, California City Administrator huddled around a television set watching as the National Trust & Preservation broadcast via satellite, the "Main Street" approach to downtown revitalization. This approach is self-help methodology that requires downtown stake-holders to work together to determine their future, assess their own unique market potential and build upon the local cultural and historical identity. The group watching the presentation became very excited and decided at that moment that the Main Street program was what downtown Grass Valley, California needed to survive.
With a Business Improvement Assessment District (BID) already in place and the City of Grass Valley, California ready to commit additional dollars, it took about eight months to build the needed support, hire a full time manager, gather letters of recommendation, develop a budget, establish a nonprofit status and complete the Main Street application. In August of 1998, we will be celebrating our 12th year as a California Main Street City.
Over the last 12 years, the Grass Valley Downtown Association, through the main street Four point program, has experienced 1st floor vacancies going from over 15% to less than 2% and second floor vacancies going from about 35% to less than 10%. There have been over 15 public improvement projects with a value of $3,403,200 and 166 private design projects with a value of just over $3 million. Downtown Grass Valley, California has seen 64 net gain in business creating 284 in new jobs gained. Presently the 13-block business district consisting of over 240 businesses contributes about 25% of all the sales tax revenue collected in the City of Grass Valley, California.
Besides answering to a membership base of over 240, maintaining a professional staff and office tracking business gains, public / private investment and new jobs the downtown area, being involved in over a dozen community-based organizations and meeting our agreements with both the State and the City government, the Association produces a year round calendar of promotions for the community to enjoy.
Through the Main Street 4 point process, downtown Grass Valley, California is starting to see the fruits of its' labor. We have persevered thorough an era of constrained resources, developing creative new partnerships and approaches to strengthen existing downtown businesses and foster entrepreneur ship in new ventures. Downtown Grass Valley, California has capitalized its historic resources to retain its sense of community history and reclaim competitiveness as a commercial center and community gathering place. Through our revitalization efforts we have nurtured and harnessed community pride to enhance the wonderful quality of life that so many people look for when locating to our area. Although downtown Grass Valley, California may never again house the large hardware and department stores it once did, we believe that today we offer an array of shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities for our residents and visitors to enjoy. Please stop by downtown Grass Valley, California soon and see the wonderful changes that have occurred over the last few years. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you see and experience!
No. of Businesses in BID: Approximately 235
No. of square blocks in BID: 13
1st floor vacancy rate: less than 1%
2nd floor vacancy rate: less than 3%
Presently the business district contributes about 20% of all the sales tax revenue collected in the City of Grass Valley, California.
The Grass Valley Downtown Association can be reached at 530-272-8315