About Downtown Richmond's Service District

In the late 1980’s, the predecessor non-profit organization that assisted in forming Venture Richmond, created a 440-block Downtown Service District (or special assessment district). The special assessment district was authorized by the City and set up to help pay for ongoing services. It is managed by Venture Richmond to provide enhanced services to the public in Downtown Richmond. The commercial property owners within this district pay a “special assessment” tax for services over and above the basic municipal services, including street and sidewalk cleaning, plantings and beautification, and marketing. The City of Richmond also contributes funding for these services, but funding is subject to annual appropriation by City Council. Venture Richmond is treated by Council as a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Street and sidewalk cleaning services are performed under a contract with a minority contractor. This program is better known as Clean & Safe. Venture Richmond also serves as the chief marketer of Downtown and has been largely responsible for changing perceptions of Downtown for decades. Venture Richmond also works with a minority contractor on enhanced services such as seasonal plantings, hanging baskets, decorative seasonal banners and other measures deemed important in downtown neighborhoods.

The boundaries of the Downtown Service District are generally Belvidere Street to the west, Interstate 95 to the north, the alleyway between 18th and 19th Streets to the east, and the James River to the south. The exact boundaries can be seen in detail on the maps below.

For more information and context on how other US cities manage and run their special assessment districts, read this informative article from the International Downtown Association.