The Civic Center Community Benefit District and its formation was featured in the City and County of San Francisco’s “Civic Center Campus Chronicle” Newsletter.

Below is the text of the article:

Civic Center Community Benefit District Formed

By Donald W. Savoie

After many years of planning and countless volunteer hours, a group of concerned Civic Center property owners, arts organizations, government entities, and other stakeholders worked with the City and County of San Francisco to establish the Civic Center Community Benefit District (CBD) in 2011.

The goal of the Civic Center CBD is to improve coordination and communication around the management, image, safety, beautification and cleanliness of the greater Civic Center area for the benefit of patrons, residents, employees, merchants, property owners and other visitors within the district.

Many cities in California, as well as throughout the country, have developed CBDs. A CBD provides essential services such as safety, cleaning and maintenance, and activation to supplement and complement those provided by local government.

San Francisco has several CBDs or business improvement district (BIDs) that have been operating for years in neighborhoods such at Union Square, Yerba Buena, Fisherman’s Wharf, Central Market, Tenderloin, Castro/Upper Market and Noe Valley.

The Civic Center Community Benefit District, Inc., a 501-c-3 non-profit organization formed July 1, 2011, implements the services, represents the owners and the institutions, and meets the following objectives:

  • Create and manage programs that best respond to the top priorities of the Civic Center CBD stakeholders
  • Maximize coordination with the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to avoid duplication of services and leverage resources
  • Deliver services through a cost-effective, and easy to assess, organizational structure
  • Provide for accountability to those who pay assessments.

The Civic Center CBD Board of Directors oversee the management and operations for the Civic Center CBD Inc. To ensure that the CBD has broad representation and accountability, the Board of Directors is comprised of stakeholders within the district, a mix of large and small property owners, businesses, district art organizations, governmental, commercial and residential property owners and tenants. All board and committee meetings are posted on our website and open to the public.

The Civic Center CBD project area consists of approximately 35 whole or partial blocks surrounding City Hall/Civic Center Plaza/Market Street and generally bounded on the north by Turk Street, on the east by a varying boundary along Hyde, Larkin and Ninth streets, on the south by and including the south side of Market Street, on the west by the west side of Franklin Street. It also includes both sides of Grove, Ivy, and Hayes streets westward to Gough Street.

The Civic Center CBD has in place a Management Plan approved by the City to provide services in the Civic Center area. They include community ambassadors and clean teams and the CBD has been providing service to the area since February 1, 2012.

The team of Community Service Ambassadors (CSAs) are a key element of the CBD. The CSAs are goodwill ambassadors who assist the public in navigating the district with a welcoming and informed presence. Their function is to assist the public with information and direct them to destinations within the area, made possible by training on local geography, area venues and businesses, transportation systems, and other useful information.

They also play a vital role in promoting the Civic Center area as safe and friendly. They are easily visible and identifiable by their orange and gray uniforms that are unique to this district.

Their presence is a deterrent to misdemeanor crime, and they have a communication system to enable them to report unsafe conditions or observations of criminal activity immediately through the CBD dispatch to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).

There are four CSAs that work during the days Tuesday through Saturday. There are also four CSAs that work for 200 evenings per year, based on what events and performances are occurring in the neighborhood. The CSAs walk throughout the central area of the District near arts venues to enhance the pedestrian experience before and after evening performances, events and meetings

The Civic Center CBD has a daily clean team to perform cleaning mostly along the Market Street area and surrounding side streets and alleys. They also respond to maintenance calls to remove graffiti, wash down the sidewalk or pick up an accumulation of debris on the sidewalk. The team is assisted by calls received by the CBD dispatch staff and work with the Department of Public Works (DPW) to coordinate delivery of the maintenance services that the City provides.

The Civic Center CBD board and staff also works with various partners to project the Civic Center neighborhood as a beautiful, clean, safe, and vibrant district. The larger purpose is to increase the area’s perception as a friendly, clean, and exciting place for attending performances, dining, shopping, and investing in business opportunities and properties.

Future Civic Center CBD programs could include such things as streetscape improvements, including wayfinding signage and other public right of way and capital enhancements to the district.

For more information about the Civic Center CBD, please visit our website www.sfciviccenter.org. To request services, please call the CCCBD Dispatch number at (415) 781-4700 or send email to dispatch@sfciviccenter.org.

About the Author

Donald W. Savoie is the executive director of the Civic Center Community Benefit District and has over 20 years of experience in community development, nonprofit management and communications. In the course of his experience, Savoie has lived in Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco, and has worked with various types of nonprofit organizations, such as chambers of commerce, cultural institutions, arts organizations, AIDS-service organizations, and alumni groups.