The Benson Business Improvement District (BID) is the 2014 recipient of Omaha by Design’s 2014 Civic Leaf.
The honor recognizes an individual, organization or business that has worked to define and improve the metropolitan area’s civic places and public image. It was presented to representatives of the group at the May 21 meeting of the Omaha by Design Advisory Committee.
“The Benson Business Improvement District has seen the great potential in Benson and has worked diligently with city officials to turn our visions into reality,” said D’Ann Lonowski, co-chair of the group’s board and owner of Mint Design Group at 5916 Maple St. “We graciously accept this award and will share it with all the businesses in Benson that have helped make our business climate increasingly more dynamic and robust.”
The Benson BID was established by the City of Omaha in 1977 as Benson’s Business Area Improvement Board. Its purpose is to raise necessary funds for providing and maintaining improvements to Benson’s business district. On Nov. 23, 2010, the Omaha City Council approved the group’s plans to expand its original boundaries and number of board members, update its assessment formula and finance a new strategic work plan to help ensure the district’s successful future.
Since the expansion, the entity has:
– Cleaned, restriped and landscaped the long-neglected public parking lot at 2700 N. 61st St.
– Hired a cleaning and maintenance service company to perform weekly cleaning of the district’s parking lot, sidewalks and community areas
– Purchased and annually displays holiday lighting and decorations
– Financed – in conjunction with the City of Omaha – the replacement of Maple Street’s streetlights with historically appropriate models
– Added a monument sign and lighting to Benson’s new east gateway
– Added banners to the Maple Street streetlights that rotate to promote the district and local events
– Installed a number of emergency phones in strategic locations
– Installed cigarette receptacles throughout the district
– Collaborated with the Omaha Police Department to add more bicycle patrols in the neighborhood
Long-range plans include additional infrastructure enhancements, initiating sustainable projects such as rainwater collection, and collaborating with Metro on cutting edge transit solutions.
As a result of these efforts and others made by the neighborhood’s partner organizations and the City of Omaha, the Benson BID has welcomed a host of new businesses into its jurisdiction in recent years – a mix of restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, bars, and retail and service shops.
The Benson BID meets the first Friday of every month from 11:30am to 1:00pm at the Benson Community Center, 6008 Maple St. The meetings are open to the public.