At its infancy, the Bel Air Downtown Task Force was established to oversee development of a Downtown Market Study. This process helped to identify business types and locations that are successful in Bel Air. From 1999 to 2001, under the directions of the Planning Director of the Town of Bel Air, the Task Force evolved into the Bel Air Downtown Revitalization Alliance, shifting its focus to supporting economic development in Downtown Bel Air.
In 2001, with the founding of the Bel Air Downtown Revitalization Alliance 501(c)3 as a Maryland Main Street program, real initiatives were taken and progress was made. The grandfather building of downtown, the Armory, was revitalized as an event center with offices and a garden music venue. This initiative prompted nearby property owners to revamp structures and a surge of revitalized facades followed. As new businesses, retail, services, and offices came back to downtown, so did visitors and employment. As employment returned, so did restaurants, with every restaurant in the district offering luncheon specials and after work incentives. Historic building tax credits and incentives, in addition to the town’s revolving loan fund, were enhanced through Community Development Block Grant and Department of Housing and Community Development and leveraged effectively to ignite the spark of redevelopment.
In 2003, having achieved great early success, the Alliance was renamed once again as the Bel Air Downtown Alliance. The focus of the group is consistent with the four pillar structure of Maryland Main Street programs: Design, Organization, Economic Restructuring, and Promotion.
We envision Bel Air’s future as a sustainable community in which people live, work, and play. We attract and welcome diverse neighborhoods where our parks, schools, and commercial centers are vibrant assets that enrich our quality of life. Our success is based on strong collaborations with our government and economic partners.
The Bel Air Downtown Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development organization whose mission is to mobilize stakeholders to invest in Bel Air’s neighborhoods, economy, and quality of life.
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