Capitol Hill Business Improvement District | Annual Report – FY15
Below is a narrative of the services provided to Capitol Hill Property Owners during Year 6 of the Business Improvement District.
At the end of 2014, Jorge Hernandez made the decision to step down as Executive Director, a position he had held since early 2011. Mr. Hernandez was key in guiding the organization through the important task of creating a new brand for the district and bringing success through events such as Taco Truck Thursday, Fiestas de las Americas, and Haunt the Hill, that draw visitors, create recognition, and generate positive attention for the district.
In December, the Board participated in a strategic planning session and determined four critical areas to focus on in 2015: Financial Development, to improve financial stability and transparency; Organizational Development, to define new administrative roles and achieve board and volunteer expansion; Constituent Development, to improve communication and outreach to our BID members; and Infrastructure Development, to update the property and business database and create a working timeline for the Plaza and historic plaque projects. Progress in achieving these goals was seen in big and small ways throughout this past year.
1) Financial Development
- Board Treasurer Peter Evans, Ms. Cervantes, and CPA firm Fleming Tax worked to review and update the organization’s financial records, ensure tax compliance, and establish a FY16 budget
- Year-Round Sponsor/Member Package rolled out to attract new Sponsors
- Fowler Dodge made 2-year commitment as District Sponsor
- FY15 BID carry-over of $3,200 to be considered for improvements such as trees, lighting, and street furniture
2) Organizational Development
- The Board adopted new By-Laws and oversaw reinstatement of 501c3 in Fall 2014
- Donna Cervantes appointed as the new Director in January 2015
- Board approved contract with Tango PR and 2101 Strategies to provide promotional services through December 2015
- New committees were formed to support Fiestas de las Americas event with volunteers representing a range of local businesses, schools, churches, and civic organizations
- Improved relationships and partnerships formed with La 29 Business District; LULAC (League of United Latin America Citizens); Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; South Oklahoma Chamber; Urban Land Institute; OK Center for Non-Profits; OK Arts Council.
3) Constituent Development
- Outreach is improving with daily/weekly social media updates and news via Facebook and Twitter, monthly email news updates, and quarterly BID Committee meetings.
4) Infrastructure Development
- An updated property and business owner database is complete and will be kept up to date as ownership changes
- A Plaza usage proposal was submitted and funding for Plaza improvements are being discussed with city representatives
- Historic photos and maps were added to our website and copies displayed at events
- The historic appreciation plan (reception, brochure, plaques) will move forward in FY16
- Board reapplying to OK State Main Street program in FY16
Advertising and Promotion
Promotional efforts in FY15 included Taco Truck Thursdays, held over the summer in the DHS parking lot; the 9th Annual Fiestas de las Americas, held on September 27th that attracted thousands to the parade, booths, rides, food, and dance and music; the 2nd Haunt the Hill event; the inaugural Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival; Navidad en Calle Dos Cinco; our first Cinco de Mayo festival held in the historic Opry lobby; and the Fiesta Friday street festivals held in June, July and August 2015. All of these family-friendly events, which feature food, music and dance, continue to be a great opportunity to bring the community together and highlight the diverse interests, culture, and history of the district. These events also attract corporate sponsors, small business and non-profit participants, and promote volunteerism while shedding a positive spotlight on the district. Also new this year was the introduction of custom street banners, which beautify the district, generate interest, and provide a source of sponsor funding.
Landscape Maintenance and Street Clean Up
Weekly landscape maintenance and street clean up now provided by First Maintenance, Inc. with street and sidewalk truck vacuum service, tree trimming, and weeding. District maintenance is another opportunity to promote partnerships and volunteerism. We teamed up once again with the OU Big Event volunteers in April for day of planting and trash removal. Other partners included Neighborhood Alliance and Canterbury Gardens, providing a truckload of plants that were installed by LULAC volunteers, and Community Action Agency, County Commissioner Brian Maughan, as well as Brett Fisher’s crews, who regularly assist with district beautification and cleanup efforts as well as various equipment loans. Technology is also part of the team: the OKC Action Line mobile app provides fast response to graffiti, litter, and other complaints.
FY15 brought positives changes, stronger partnerships, and renewed opportunities for growth. We are particularly encouraged by the progress at the new OCCC Capitol Center, reinvestment at the OK Opry, and the first steps toward the $7M redevelopment of the Capitol Hill Library.
On behalf of the Board, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the efforts toward revitalization of the Historic Capitol Hill Business District.
Donna Cervantes, Director
Olde Capitol Hill Council, Inc.