One of the issues we face in the physician shortage is keeping them here once they come. As we all know, it is not just the doctor who has to like east Hawaii, but their partner as well. A vibrant downtown Hilo would help a lot with this. As such I recently invited Matthias Kusch, Jonathan Humphries, and Nimr Tamimi to share information on the proposed Business Improvement District (BID) in downtown Hilo with the Economic Development Committee. The goal of the BID is to create a clean and safe downtown, so people will want to work, live, and play there.

The BID, if approved, is a non-profit that will raise funds through assessments on commercial properties (residential, non-profits and government are exempt) and grant applications. Initial objectives are services such as homeless outreach, night foot patrol, sidewalk cleaning, and graffiti removal; improved restrooms and parking; and mass transit and support/implementation of the County’s Multimodal Plan ( The BID would not replace County functions, but rather enhance and support them. For example, one of the concerns the County has with the Multimodal Plan is not having the manpower to keep up the green spaces if they are added to the sidewalk areas. This is where the BID could step in to keep things looking clean and well-kept.

The Kailua Village BID’s mission, “Creating a model sustainable community that is a better place to invest, work, live and play,” has helped them make the Alii Drive area a destination for both locals and tourists alike. Likewise, the goal of the Downtown Hilo BID is to make Hilo a destination for all. This will include signage and branding, but it starts with a clean and safe downtown. For more information on the downtown Hilo BID, go to Let’s support this process to make downtown a place that all of us will want to go.