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Columbia Business Improvement District hoping city council approves ordinance

The City Center Partnership supports hundreds of businesses in the City of Columbia. They're hoping City Council will approve their ordinance to continue to operate.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The City Center Business Improvement District covers 36 blocks around downtown Columbia, including parts of Gervais Street, Assembly Street, Marion Street, and the Main Street District.

The non-profit organization that supports hundreds of businesses in Columbia, for 20 years, is hoping Columbia City Council will approve an ordinance that will extend their operation. 

“The ordinance is to establish the business improvement district," said Matt Kennell, President and CEO of City Center Partnership. "It’s really continuing the Business Improvement District. We have been in operation since January 1st of 2002.”

A statewide community development law, created in 1984, states municipalities must renew their district and developments every 10 years, according to City of Columbia Councilman Howard Duvall

Kennell said the organization collects over a million dollars worth of revenue into the city, every year.

"For the million dollars or so a year— now that is collected, we bring back 10’s of millions in new investment in the area," Kennell said. "In fact, just in the last 10 years, since the business district was renewed, there have been hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment in the area."

Councilman Duvall said the City placed a special tax on the business district. 

"The area has tax, a property tax," Councilman Duvall said. "Businesses on Main Street have a $4 per front foot, additional assessment because they get more benefit in areas that are often other blocks."

If city council does not approve the ordinance, CCP could lose funding for all the businesses they support. Councilman Duvall said the district has grown tremendously in the past couple years and has no doubt other city council members would approve the ordinance.

"I think this will be an unanimous decision of council," said Councilman Duvall. "The Business Improvement District has been very successful. Matt Kennell and his City Center Partnership has done a wonderful job of developing Main Street. 

Columbia City Council is meeting on Tuesday at 2 p.m.