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A City of Edmonton guide for local business improvements has won an international award.

The International Downtown Association has given the City of Edmonton an Achievement Award for its Business Improvement Areas Handbook. The handbook is a reference guide and planning manual for the city’s 12 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). 

“Our handbook is regarded as one of the most comprehensive BIA reference guides in North America,” says Gary Klassen, General Manager of the City’s Planning and Development Department.

“Promoting and managing business and commercial areas is becoming more complex,” says Shirley Lowe, Chair of the Council of Business Improvement Areas in Edmonton, “so it’s important to have a tool and educational resource to help us effectively run our organizations.”

The City of Edmonton Planning and Development Department, together with the Council of BIAs members, created the BIA Handbook as a one-stop resource for established and future Business Improvement Areas to improve their operating practices. The information is primarily for Executive Directors, BIA Board members, local business owners and City officials.

The handbook provides guidelines for the operations of a BIA, such as hiring of staff and running effective meetings, provides information on strategic planning and financial management, and encourages BIA Executive Directors and Board Members to discover new services and programs for their BIA membership.

The BIAs represent close to 5,000 businesses primarily in the central and older parts of the city. Each BIA works to promote and revitalize their part of the city through economic development initiatives, streetscape improvements and business planning.

The International Downtown Association (IDA) is a champion for vital and livable urban centres and has more than 650 member organizations worldwide. The 2009 Downtown Achievement Award winners were recognized during IDA’s 55th Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 11-15, 2009.

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