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Council Approves $6 Million Budget for Downtown Santa Monica Inc.

Phil Brock For Council 2014

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Michael Feinstein for Santa Monica City Council 2014Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

August 18, 2014 – One month before the Santa Monica Promenade celebrates its 25th anniversary, the City Council approved a $6 million budget for the agency that runs the thriving strip.

The $6,078,569 budget that will be used by Downtown Santa Monica Inc. (DTSM) to run, clean and market the city’s central business district represents a 3 percent increase over the private non-profit’s budget last year.

“Twenty-five years after Third Street Promenade was created, both public and private entities will contribute toward an enhanced face and functionality for the area,” Downtown officials said. “This investment promises to bolster our vibrant district, and form a path toward an even more dynamic Downtown.”

Downtown officials caution that they must work to maintain the success of the area, which draws some 40,000 visitors a day.

“There are many ongoing challenges we must address,” officials said.  “Homelessness and aggressive soliciting and panhandling still require attention and care.”

The biggest expenditure is $1,315,772 for maintenance of the Business Improvement District, which is bordered by Ocean Avenue to the west, Wilshire Boulevard to the north, 7th Street to the east and the Santa Monica Freeway to the south.

Another $1,310,000 will fund the Downtown Ambassador Program, hospitality guides who provide visitors with information, directions and other services.

Other expenditures include $1,120,613 for personnel, $947,000 for marketing, $417,019 for administration and $102,500 for the homeless support program.

The agency is exploring creating an overlay district to provide “the additional cleaning required as well as the active management necessary to preserve the same level of cleanliness and welcome services people have become accustomed to in Downtown,” officials said.

DTSM will also explore incorporating Lincoln Boulevard into the district, officials said, adding that “this possible expansion would require a strong emphasis on maintenance to define Lincoln as part of Downtown Santa Monica.”

DTSM’s revenues come from diverse sources, including $3.7 million from property-based assessments within the Business Improvement District (BID).
Other sources of revenue include sponsorships for ICE at Santa Monica, an outdoor ice skating rink DTSM operates during the winter months; rent; filming; special events and the Dolphin Change Program, which helps local agencies provide homeless services.

There was also $173,000 left over from last year’s budget. 

In addition to the budget, the city also passed the DTSM Work Plan, which describes activities the organization plans to implement in the upcoming year in detail.

The Work Plan concentrates on five goals: Organizational Management, Visitor Experience Development, Character and Cultural Development, Community Advocacy and Economic Development.

“We look to FY 2014/15 as a pivotal year of transformation and we have much work ahead of us with many unknowns,” said officials. 

“Twenty-five years ago, civic leaders, the business community and residents came together to build Third Street Promenade. By continuing that collaboration today, we can safeguard Downtown Santa Monica’s spot as a leading progressive city in the United States.”


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