General Info & History
The Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a non-profit association, which was officially formed in 1982 when a successful petition to the City of Hamilton from the participating merchants and business people in the area resulted in replacing the Downtown Hamilton Businessmen’s Association with the BIA. The area designated as the Downtown BIA was to include MacNab Street to Mary Streets, Main Street to King William. In 2001 the BIA expanded to include Rebecca Street to the north and the south side of Main Street. In 2008 the Bia expanded southward Hunter Street from MacNab to Catharine.
The Board of Management, including one member of City Council, governs the organization and meets monthly. Various committees are organized to fulfill its mandate and to develop activities and events.
Currently the membership of the BIA comprises 453 members and 173 property owners who are taxed a special levy over and above their taxes to help fund the activities of the BIA. The BIA is managed by a full time Executive Director and maintains an office at 20 Hughson St. South, Suite 202.
We are interested in hearing from BIA members as to our communications and programming plans.
What does a BIA do?
The two primary activities of the BIA involve promoting the area as THE place to work, live and play in Hamilton and advocating on behalf of its member businesses.We also sponsor other events downtown in order to help other organizations bring vitality downtown.
The BIA is the voice of the downtown business community at City Hall. Over the past number of years, we have fought on behalf of our members for a number of issues including the placement of more parking meters, a moratorium on fees for outdoor patios (saving our members thousands of dollars!!) and for fairer taxation on downtown businesses. On this last point, we are continuing to seek ways to see an end to the unfair tax burden shouldered by our members.
Who pays for the BIA’s activities?
The BIA is entirely self-funded. Each year, the BIA holds an Annual General Meeting at which time a budget established by the organization’s Board of Management is presented to the membership for consideration and approval. Once approved, the budget amount is paid by allocating portions of it to all BIA members in the form of a BIA levy, which is based on the assessment of the property.
Why should I become a BIA member?
The Downtown BIA is the voice of business in downtown Hamilton. Participation in its deliberations provides you with access to the decision makers in municipal government.
Membership offers you access to a number of municipal government loan programs that can be used to renovate your building (subject to being qualified to do so).
Participation in BIA activities offers networking opportunities with other downtown business people.