The Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District, or DWSBID, is a 60-block area in downtown. The idea for DWSBID was born by the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and presented to the city council’s finance committee in July 2013. DWSP is an organization that hosts a multitude of events throughout the year and aims to revitalize and strengthen the city.
On June 25, 2013, former DWSP Chairman Mark Dunnagan sent a letter to former City Manager Lee Garrity, stating that the business improvement district would allow them to “continue to make positive strides in improving our downtown by implementing new services that supplement the existing city services.” It was endorsed by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, the Winston-Salem Alliance and the Arts Council, Dunnagan added.
In November 2013, DWSBID was created by Mayor Allen Joines — who is also Winston-Salem Alliance’s president — and members of council and formally established the following fiscal year in July 2014.
DWSP’s President Jason Thiel gave DWSBID’s annual presentation to council on Oct. 16.
The organization performs “supplemental services” such as removing graffiti, picking up extra trash and powerwashing, Thiel said, adding that they also spend money on their marketing services [Disclosure: DWSP buys advertising from Triad City Beat.].
The “Clean Team Ambassadors” collected 2,610 bags of litter, maintained 15 pet waste stations,spent nearly 700 hours removing graffiti and more than 100 hours pressure-washing.
According to DWSP’s website, they are also responsible for cleaning and straightening public fixtures — including trash cans, newspaper racks, benches and more — as well as reporting code enforcement problems that should be maintained by the city such as broken street lights, damaged property, etc.
These services are paid for by a supplemental tax, Thiel said, noting that “these funds do not come from the general fund, they come from a separate levy just on the properties within the very core of downtown.”
According to the city’s website, the current tax rate for the district is 9 cents per $100 of valuation, assessed on real and personal property — including registered motor vehicles — within the boundaries of the district.
The district extends to Broad Street on the west and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to the north, and is bordered by N. Church Street to the east and Business 40 to the south.
Thiel said that they have regular meetings with stakeholders downtown to get their feedback.
Thiel makes $110,000 per year from his role as DWSP’s president according to tax records from 2022.
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