Wynwood Business Improvement District will start work on neighborhood improvement efforts immediately with $43,500 from Knight Foundation

Wynwood Arts District Association and community members to lead plan

MIAMI – (Oct. 22, 2013) – Businesses and community leaders in Miami’s Wynwood district will be able to start work immediately on their plan to strengthen the area as a hub for artists and entrepreneurs with $43,500 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The support allows the Wynwood Business Improvement District to launch now, instead of waiting until next year when the organization can officially collect taxes from property owners in the area.

The plan, spearheaded by the Wynwood Arts District Association, aims to make the neighborhood safer and more vibrant by funding more public art, improving security and sanitation and strengthening the area as a hub for artists and entrepreneurs. Original support for the Business Improvement District was provided to Wynwood Arts District Association by ArtPlace America, a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations.

Wynwood commercial property owners agreed in June 2013 to form the Business Improvement District and tax themselves annually for the next 10 years to raise money for ongoing neighborhood improvements. Collection of levies for the Business Improvement District will begin in January 2014. Knight funding will allow work to begin immediately.

A Board of Directors will be selected, along with other staff. Additionally, business operations to launch the plan will be put in place, including procurement, accounting and budget procedures. The Wynwood Business Improvement District will also decide the best way to allocate funds and prioritize different projects in the neighborhood—from boosting art initiatives to making the area pedestrian friendly through better lighting and more surveillance.

“There is huge momentum for the Wynwood Business Improvement District right now. That’s why it is of great importance that we work together to enhance the progress in the community before the collection of the first assessments in early 2014,” said David Collins, the Wynwood Business Improvement District project director. “This Knight support empowers us to roll up our shirt sleeves and get to work serving the district right away. It is very positive to start seeing immediate results.”

“The Wynwood Business Improvement District is a shining example of community engagement—bringing people coming together to help shape their neighborhood and lay a personal stake in its progress,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director in Miami. “It marks a new stage in Wynwood’s ascent and is an opportunity that needs to be seized.”

In order to spread the impact to Miami’s larger community, Wynwood Arts District Association will also hold a number of workshops and produce a video series charting the establishment of the Business Improvement District. In this way, other neighborhoods tackling revitalization can learn from the Wynwood experience.

Since its founding in 2009, Wynwood Arts District Association has fostered community development initiatives. This work has attracted visitors to the neighborhood, and directly benefited residents and underserved communities, such as the Women of Wynwood, which empowers homeless women by providing them with jobs in the community.

The launch of the Business Improvement District forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to inform citizens and create new opportunities by strengthening Miami’s startup and creative community. Knight has made significant investments in Wynwood in particular with the opening of The Lab Miami, a co-working space in the neighborhood; and the Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse, a performance and gallery space for arts organizations.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org

About the Wynwood Arts District Association

WADA, a community association, brings together art complexes, galleries, performing art spaces, restaurants, cafes, and other creative businesses that strengthen the concept of a true arts district becoming the catalyst for Miami’s international image.

As a 501(C)3 non-profit organization, WADA represents the interests of Wynwood stakeholders and pursues community development and improvement initiatives. By committing to provide a clean, safe, and enriching environment to its occupants and visitors, the Wynwood Arts District Association actively plays a vital role in enhancing the character and experience of the warehouse district. For more, visit: http://www.WynwoodMiami.com

CONTACT: Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org


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