The Downtown Bozeman Partnership (DBP) hosted the 17th
Annual Breakfast on Wednesday morning of May 31st, 2023. This was the 12th year that the Baxter has graciously opened their doors to downtown community members, including business members, property owners, and downtown supporters!
The Annual Breakfast serves as an opportunity for socializing and for downtown supporters and members to receive updates on the DBP’s recent accolades, annual events and programs, and presentation of the Annual Downtown Bozeman Awards.
Attendees also were privilege to a keynote speaker presentation by Crystal Alegria of the Extreme History Project titled “Time Traveling Down Main Street: Tracing the History and Renovations of Bozeman's Downtown Buildings”.
Crystal is the Co-founder and Director of The Extreme History Project, a public history Nonprofit located here in Bozeman. Crystal has worked in the field of public history for the past twenty years at a variety of museums and heritage organizations, always with the goal of bringing history to the public.
She has written extensively on the history of Montana and co-produces The Dirt on the Past Podcast and has recently co-produced an Emmy-nominated documentary, The Story of Us: The Women Who Shaped Montana. Crystal has served two terms on the Bozeman Historic Preservation Advisory Board and was a founding member of the Bozeman Preservation Advocacy Group.
Downtown Bozeman has a rich history that is still apparent as you stroll down Main Street today! Crystal touched on three notable building’s humble beginnings and walked listeners through their timelines. Her full presentation can be found HERE.
The DBP is comprised of three major organizations, each with their own acronym and identity; the Downtown Bozeman Association (DBA), the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), and Urban Renewal District (URD).
The DBA, founded in 1980, is the business member organization that focuses on branding and marketing downtown Bozeman and hosts free annual community events.
The BID, founded in 2000, is the property owner group that oversees the beautification and maintenance of downtown.
The Downtown URD, founded in 1995, is the entity that invests in economic development and infrastructure upgrades.
So, in other words…
The URD helps construct the building blocks of downtown.
The BID keeps downtown attractive and vibrant.
The DBA brings thousands of people downtown to experience this great place.
Our DBP Team gave updates, summarized notable achievements for each organization, and welcomed a member of each of their boards to announce awards!
Cache Perdue, DBP’s Program Director, mainly works with the Downtown Bozeman Association (DBA) arm of the Partnership. The DBA stays incredibly busy managing Membership, Events, and Marketing throughout the year.
Membership continues to grow year over year and the DBA has an amazing Outreach Committee that helps us develop our benefits and resources for members! The DBA currently has 330 business members located in the downtown core and surrounding areas.
“DTNBZN” is the well-established downtown brand that business members are proud to use and represent. Speaking of branding, the DBA has numerous branded resources including Directories and newly printed Tear-Off Maps. Additionally, downtown Kiosks, which mirror the Tear-Off Maps, are displayed in 3 key locations downtown: Chalet Sports, the Parking Garage near Revelry, and in Soroptimist Park.
Downtown Dollars, a program the DBA has nurtured for many years, continues to grow annually! 2022 reported a record sale of $130,000 over the holiday season – all of which go back into our downtown businesses!
Finally, the DBA hosts 15 unique annual events with over 25 occurrences. These are FREE community events, each with its own target group of business involvement and each welcoming a different customer demographic.
Summer events kick off this Friday, June 9th with Art Walks! Details on more exciting upcoming events can be found HERE.
Mary Pat, of Bozeman Spirits Distillery, bestowed the “Life is Downtown” Award. This award honors a person who has given a veritable lifetime of service to downtown Bozeman, Billy McWilliams!
Billy has been a downtown business owner and manager for 25+ years. He is directly involved in many local Nonprofits such as the Help Center, HRDC, and Montana Democrats by giving many hours of his time to all these efforts.
Billy was also the 2022 Christmas Stroll Master of Ceremonies and showed his devotion to downtown and the DBA throughout his announcements. Billy is not only hugely supportive of the DBA through events and marketing, but he is also extremely supportive of our downtown community members who may need a little extra care and support. This included taking Buzzard, a downtown icon, under his wing, especially during his final days. Congrats Billy!
The Executive Director of the DBP, Ellie Staley, spoke on the successes of the Urban Renewal District (URD).
The primary goal of the URD is to maintain an economically thriving Downtown that attracts investment, strengthens the tax base, and supports the vitality and diversity of the Gallatin Valley as its commercial, social, and cultural center.
The Urban Renewal District continues to focus on implementing the primary objectives of the 1995 Urban Renewal Plan and 2019 Downtown Improvement Plan including the following programs and projects…
First, the URD offers a variety of financial grant programs to facilitate the development of mixed-use buildings, hotels, utility improvements and residential units within the downtown district.
The URD also funds the design, implementation and maintenance of the downtown streetscapes and public spaces such as Soroptimist Park and the North Black Pocket Park. Through 2023, the URD placed many new benches, trash cans, and recycling bins throughout the district, specifically to many of our newly redeveloped sites.
Between 2019 and 2021, 13 trees were cut down due to the impact of drought. Last summer, we removed and replaced 5 tree stumps along Main Street and have plans to replace the remaining 8 this summer between the city and contracted staff. These stumps have presented a clear safety hazard to downtown pedestrians and are a bigger project than the City Forestry Department has been able to tackle. The URD is happy to coordinate with the city to get it done in a timely manner and harbor a safe district for our residents and visitors.
The Urban Renewal Board continues to work closely with the City Economic Development staff to maintain and improve downtown’s public parking assets. In addition to servicing the construction debt for the Bridger Park Garage, the URD is committed to adding much needed parking supply to the district in the coming years as well as work with our property owners to develop a formal shared-use parking program for our downtown employees and residents.
In 2019, we developed a Downtown Alleyway concept plan and now we have taken some of those exciting ideas and design elements to complete our FIRST Downtown Alleyway beautification project through this summer. This project is located along the alley spanning from Black to Tracy Avenue on the northside of Main Street. The URD is excited to be working with Susan Riggs of Groundprint and the team at Design 5 and all of the adjoining downtown property and business owners to make this project beautiful and uniquely Bozeman. Keep an eye out for construction coming soon!
Finally, the URD is excited to REwrap our beloved downtown electric art boxes. The current art displayed on the boxes were part of a pilot program over 11 years ago. This program has been adopted city-wide and has been a proven graffiti deterrent while also displaying amazing local artwork. DTNBZN recently hosted a “Call for Art” and had over 40 submissions; of which 11 new designs from 11 amazing artists were chosen! You can expect to see new artwork displayed on the electrical boxes in summer 2023!
If you are interested in any of the projects mentioned or any of the URD priorities or projects, please email Ellie.
Downtown URD Member, Nick Zelver, then presented the Downtown Community Award. This award acknowledges a business or organization that has provided exemplary support of all that is downtown Bozeman and 2023’s winner is PRIME Incorporated!
PRIME Incorporated has been the Downtown Bozeman Partnership marketing and branding agency for over 10 years. Their working relationship began while the current owners were MSU students who, in their free time, donated graphic design time for event marketing materials for many of our legacy events.
Once they started PRIME Inc., the DBP began working with them more and more, from building our downtownbozeman.org websites and Content Management System to being our umbrella branding agency. They have helped us develop a strong downtown brand and they continue to provide incredible technical and graphic support for all we do.
PRIME also supports several of our events each and every year including Ladies’ Night, Restaurant Week, PNK BZN, MSU Pep Rallies, and more! Thank you PRIME for all you do for the DBP and our community!
Emily Cope, the DBP’s Economic Development Director, recounted the BID’s many successes over the last year.
The Business Improvement District, more commonly known as the BID, was originally established in 2000 and most recently recreated in 2020 with an expanded boundary. The BID consists of over 200 downtown property owners who pay a voluntary assessment which is used to fund maintenance and beautification programs.
The BID staff is the reason that our downtown remains an incredible place that is clean and inviting! Mike Grant & Trish Riha are the year-round maintenance employees and deserve a the biggest shout out! DTNBZN can never thank them enough for the work they do on a daily basis, and they do it ALL. They are truly the eyes and ears of downtown and know what’s happening before the rest of us. Trish and Mike – THANK YOU for all of your hard work and for always going the extra mile!
Outreach Bozeman was launched in 2021 in partnership with HRDC, City of Bozeman, and the Bozeman Police Department. The BID looks forward to continuing this program by providing support to assist families and individuals experiencing homelessness return to self-sufficiency. Funding amounts will continue to assist with outreach, staffing costs and overnight programming.
The BID installs over 300 flower baskets downtown each summer. Last summer, the BID expanded the existing boundary and placed 42 Earth Planter self-watering baskets on Mendenhall and Babcock. This summer, 120 existing wrought-iron baskets will be replaced with self-watering baskets. The new baskets only need to be watered 2-3 times a week rather than 7 days a week, reducing labor & fuel costs and water usage! The goal is to replace the remaining 154 wrought-iron baskets on Main Street by summer of 2024.
The Bozeman Fire Department generously donates their time to maintain and upkeep the holiday "spiders" and has begun to replace the 50+ year old decorations. The green decoration was replaced in 2022 after it was damaged due to falling from high winds, the red will be replaced in 2023. The remaining two decorations in the next 2-4 years. *Fun fact* The green spider was purchased in 1969 from Dijulio Displays in Washington State – the company is still operating today!
BID Chairman, Eric Bowman, presented the Downtown Cornerstone Award, to Bozeman Spirits Distillery – a business that serves as an anchor to the downtown community not only economically, but socially, culturally and civically.
Bozeman Spirits truly embodies the spirit of community engagement and dedication to downtown Bozeman. Since their establishment, owners Mary Pat and Jim have wholeheartedly embraced their role as active participants in the downtown scene.
Their involvement in numerous events such as the MSU Pep Rallies, the now-retired Bobcat Fest, Ladies' Night, Art Walks, and Restaurant Week showcases their commitment to fostering a vibrant and inclusive community. Bozeman Spirits has become synonymous with supporting the local downtown culture, creating memorable experiences for residents and visitors alike.
In addition to their remarkable contributions to the downtown scene, Mary Pat's presence on the DBA Board further solidifies their commitment to the betterment of downtown Bozeman. Through her active involvement, she continuously advocates for the collective growth and prosperity of the downtown area, providing valuable insights and guidance.
Bozeman Spirits' impact extends beyond the realm of downtown events and local governance. The business has demonstrated a deep-rooted philanthropic spirit by actively supporting various local non-profits and organizations. Their contributions to MSU and the Cancer Support Community, among others, highlight their genuine concern for the well-being of the community as a whole.
Congratulations to Bozeman Spirits and its owners, Mary Pat and Jim, on receiving the prestigious 2023 Cornerstone Business Award. Their remarkable achievements and ongoing commitment to downtown Bozeman deserve this well-deserved recognition.
As the breakfast came to a close, all attendees shared a moment of silence for two downtown Bozeman icons that we lost over the past year: Elisha Mann and Buzzard Dungan. Both of these individuals continue to be deeply missed and their stamp on downtown Bozeman will never be forgotten.