Anchorage’s Downtown Improvement District (DID) covers 120 square blocks, from 9thAvenue to 1stAvenue, and from Gambell Street to L Street. Downtown property owners created the improvement district to help improve the cleanliness of downtown, decrease crime, increase investment values along with occupancy rates and lease income, and to stimulate economic development, improving the quality of life in downtown.
Simply put, property owners created the assessment district to transform downtown into a clean, safe and vibrant neighborhood.
In 1997, downtown property owners successfully petitioned the Assembly to create the DID, funding the District through an assessment the Municipality collects of 1.5 mills of assessed value (or $1.50 per $1,000) on all property, excluding government property (city, state, and federal), churches, non-profit religious, charitable or educational organizations exempt from property taxes, and owner-occupied single-family residences. The exemptions for federal, state, and municipal properties reduce the total assessment by over 33%. However, to mitigate the reduction in total assessment funding, the federal government, Municipality of Anchorage and Alaska Railroad contribute money to the DID in the form of a fee-in-lieu-of-assessment: a grant that approximately equals what the assessment amount would be if these government properties were taxed.
Anchorage’s Downtown Improvement District was the first in Alaska, although thousands of others exist in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and throughout the world.