DowntownDC BID Welcomes New Board Members; Talks Franklin Park and Public Safety

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

By Sam Mullins

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) board of directors met Oct. 19 for a quarterly board and joint membership meeting to welcome new members, update bylaws and discuss several programs underway in Downtown including the transformation of Franklin Park and closed-circuit television cameras.

BID Executive Director Neil O. Albert was welcomed to his first board meeting as president. Albert commented on the BID’s ongoing commitment to the needs of Downtown property owners and managers and the organization’s continued focus on the fundamental functions of the BID–clean and safe.

Albert said that former Executive Director Richard H. Bradley, who is now serving as BID senior advisor, had set a clear “path and vision” forward for the BID and that Albert looks forward to learning what stakeholders would like to see on the BID’s future agenda. Albert encouraged all stakeholders to reach out to him to express their thoughts on the BID.

Randall Boe, incoming chairman of the board and executive vice president and general counsel at Monumental Sports and Entertainment, thanked outgoing Chairman Michael A. McCarthy, corporate vice president at Quadrangle Development Corporation, for his extensive work running the search committee tasked with finding a replacement for founding BID Executive Director Bradley.

Several new members were welcomed to the board for the first time, with terms beginning Oct. 1, 2015: William Bertera, president and CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure; Christopher P. Mundy, senior vice president, Oxford Properties; and Thomas Penny, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott Washington Convention Center. Scott Frisch, Chief Operating Officer, AARP was also unanimously elected to the board. 

The October meeting was the first full board meeting for several members elected in June: Kathy Guy, vice president, management services, Vornado/Charles E. Smith; Boo Kim, director of operations, District Commons (Passion Food Group), Gregory Leinweber, area director of sales and marketing, Kimpton Hotels Mid-Atlantic and Southeast; Robin McClain, vice president, marketing and communications, Destination DC; and Kim Sajet, director, National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to Albert and Boe’s new roles on the board’s executive committee, board leadership beginning this fiscal year includes: Robert H. Braunohler, second vice chair of the BID board and regional vice president at Property Group Partners; Kingdon Gould III, past chair of the BID board and vice president at Gould Property Company; Peter H. Johnston, first vice chair of the BID board and senior vice president, regional manager at Boston Properties; Matt Klein, past chair of the BID board and president at Akridge; Ginger Laytham, secretary of the BID board and senior executive officer to the president, CEO and chairman at Clyde’s Restaurant Group; Michael McCarthy, past chair of the BID board and corporate vice president at Quadrangle Development Corporation; Chase Rynd, treasurer of the BID board and president and executive director at the National Building Museum; Rob Wilder, member of the BID board and CEO at Think Food Group; Yeni Wong, member of the BID board and president at Riverdale International.

Boe reported that the BID’s finances remain in good health and that the executive committee is  exploring potential options for investment with regard to cash on hand.    

Prior to the meeting, the adoption of the BID bylaw amendments had been approved by written consent of more than 2/3 of the board members currently in office. Bradley explained that several bylaws had been updated to conform with new D.C. regulations and new opportunities for BIDs. The bylaw changes presented were approved unanimously by the board and the membership.  One of these bylaw changes included taking steps to begin the process of exploring residential inclusion for the DowntownDC BID, which would mean the BID could count residential owners as BID taxpayers, something already being done in NoMa BID, Mt. Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (CID) and Capitol Riverfront BID.

“Residents are going to be a growing part of downtown and need to be included in the BID,” Bradley said. 

Today there are an estimated 9,500 residents in Downtown living in 7,045 units, including 1,006 affordable units or public housing units.  In addition, there are another 16,800 residents living within three blocks of the BID area.

Board members and BID members on Oct. 19 also received an update from BID Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability Ellen Jones on the renovation of Franklin Park (14th and I St NW). The planned transformation of Franklin Park, downtown’s largest park, is moving forward with the support of the National Park Service (NPS) and the D.C. government as well as the BID.

Jones noted that the park will require dedicated management and 24-7 security to be fully operational and successful.

NPS has released its preferred alternative for the park plan, and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has expressed her support for continued forward movement on the project.

[For more information on the Franklin Park project and historical data, visit the BID's Franklin Park webpage here]

BID Director of Public Space Management David K. Kamperin also gave a presentation on public safety in downtown, noting several “hot spots” of continued disorder and the partnerships the BID continues to rely on with city agencies and the mayor’s office to improve the situation. Kamperin also spoke of the continued progress in integrating private existing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras from properties downtown with the Metropolitan Police Department camera network. 

There is no cost to property owners to participate in this program and upgrades to systems are generally not required. The camera feeds are then available for MPD to monitor.

For more information on the CCTV program, contact David Kamperin at davidk@downtowndc.org or 202-661-7570.