The Downtown Improvement District (DID) was originally ordained by Norfolk City Council on February 9, 1999, renewed in 2003, re-ordained in 2009 and renewed again, most recently, in 2019. As per the State enabling legislation, Special Services Districts provide property owners the ability to increase the tax assessment on their properties to pay for an enhanced level of service, over and above what City government provides.
Under contract to the City of Norfolk, the Downtown Norfolk Council manages the 50-block district, providing services intended to improve the safety, cleanliness and vitality of Downtown Norfolk.
Public Service Ambassadors and Clean Team Ambassadors patrol the streets of Downtown on a daily basis, providing directions and information to visitors, providing assistance to the Norfolk Police Department, offering security escorts and maintaining a clean urban environment through a comprehensive program of sidewalk cleaning, pressure washing, graffiti removal, trash and leaf pick up, and weed removal. The DID also supports business development through the coordination of comprehensive marketing strategies and initiatives, and by providing substantive market and consumer research.
Included in most DID ordinances is what is often referred to as a “sunset clause,” or expiration date. It could be said that the expiration date is the ultimate accountability affecting a high level of efficiency and responsibility for ratepayers. The Downtown Norfolk Improvement District expires in 2026.