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Dupont Circle Business Improvement District to begin operations in October

The group named its first-ever executive director this week

Dupont Circle

Hoping to revitalize the historic neighborhood, the Dupont Circle Business Improvement District (BID) was organized last March, but it has not had an executive director until now.

The group announced this week that it would kick off operations next month with Colleen Hawkinson at its helm. She previously served as the District Department of Transportation’s manager of strategic planning and has worked in economic development for two decades, according to a release. Hawkinson helped develop moveDC, the long-term mobility plan for the District, and will “oversee place management and placemaking efforts” in Dupont Circle.

One of those efforts involves plans to develop a park on top of the Connecticut Avenue NW underpass to the north of the circle that gives the neighborhood its name. Another involves streetscape improvements along that avenue. Hawkinson will collaborate on these projects with the nearly 150 restaurants, 80 shops, and 70 embassies that operate in Dupont Circle. They are preliminarily expected to cost over $25 million and would receive District funding.

The services that the BID will provide will be financed by an additional, self-imposed tax on commercial properties within the BID area, which covers about a dozen linear blocks in the neighborhood to the west and north of the circle. (This is how D.C. BIDs are usually funded.)

Dupont Circle BID area
Dupont Circle BID

Per the release, the Dupont Circle BID will be the 11th BID in the District. “With its vibrant small and local businesses, plus its cultural and historical significance, it has become a quintessential public space experience,” Hawkinson says of Dupont Circle in a statement.

Widely recognized as a historic LGBTQ neighborhood, Dupont Circle was a premier hub for nightlife from the 1970s to the early 2000s. It still boasts popular bars and restaurants, but development over the past decade has pushed much of the District’s nightlife further east.

The BID is hoping to make the neighborhood even more “cosmopolitan” and “welcoming.” Michael Kain, a resident and major property in the neighborhood, is its founder and chair.

This post has been updated to clarify how the streetscape plans and the BID will be funded.