The Handle Business Improvement District (HBID) is an assessment district approved by businesses within the district boundaries. Initially approved by the Sacramento City Council in 2011, it was renewed for ten years in October 2016.
The HBID includes all restaurants, bars, and breweries, within the boundaries of 18th Street, 19th Street, L Street, and Capitol Avenue in Midtown Sacramento, California. The 1.5% assessment on food sales (excluding alcohol) is collected from the restaurants monthly. Collected funds support district-wide projects, including maintenance, safety and improvements in the public space.
Accomplishments of the District 2012-2016
- Improvement Projects
- Marketing and Promotions
- Community Support
- Clean and Safe Efforts
- Increased Revenues
The organization (Handle District Corporation), a non-profit organization established to oversee all management issues in the district, has been operating since Fall 2011. The seven-member board has met monthly for five years, consistently developing programs and advancing improvement projects. Although the assessment funds collected for district programs are modest by most improvement district standards, the board has taken full advantage of other funding sources, leveraging funds when possible to maximize the positive impact in the community. Additional accomplishments include: advocacy program to address pro-business issues and projects, the creation of transparent accounting procedures and collections process and streamlined administrative service contracts.
The District has successfully implemented many of the improvements outlined in the Handle District’s Streetscape Concept Plan, including: trash cans, bike racks, district signs, lights and pedestrian enhancements. In 2015/16 the Board initiated a lighting improvement project that will nearly double the streetlights in the district, it will be completed in the fall of 2016. Additional project accomplishments include: improved roadway and directional signage, support of the new parklet on L Street and the installation of two new bike corrals in the district..
Marketing and Promotions
The organization continues to expand its reach to customers through the local media and social networks. From sponsoring and hosting events (with nearly 50,000 attendees over five years), to establishing new community partnerships (social groups, clubs, vendors, elected officials, etc.), to district branding efforts, the Handle District has worked hard to create a special neighborhood identity in Midtown. Additional marketing efforts have included: support of the valet program on Capitol, regular installation of the street banner to promote events, hosting a district website for promotional support, management of an ongoing social media program, regular media relations and coordinated marketing efforts with local businesses.
In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars raised for local charities, the organization continues to sponsor community events that have become important component of the entertainment and social scene in Sacramento. These events have not only attracted new customers from outside the area to midtown, they have been important to local residents. Further, Midtown residents have also been very supportive of the programs developed to address ongoing challenges, such as the Bait Bike Program (a program that started in the Handle, later expanded to the Central City) and efforts to address parking challenges.
Clean and Safe Efforts
The Handle District has partnered with the Midtown Business Association on a number of efforts in the past five years, including expanded maintenance services. The maintenance team has removed tons of litter and trash in the Handle, and the MBA Ambassadors have helped us address many social challenges (panhandling, trespassing, graffiti, etc.). Additional community oriented projects include: programs and partnerships with the Sacramento Police Department, portable radio communication program, power washing services in the district, and the coordination of nuisance abatement efforts.
Both retail and food sales have increased in the past five years at a rate not seen in many other areas of Sacramento. Average restaurant revenues have improved by over 25 percent since the inception of the district, and although increasing property values is not a primarily objective of the organization, real estate values in the Handle District have rebounded from the recession at a faster pace than other neighborhoods in downtown. Vacancy rates in and around the Handle remain very low (less than five percent).