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Creating a Vibrant Downtown

Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association brings beauty and fun to the heart of the city By Jillian Chandler | Photo Courtesy of Coeur d'Alene Downtown Association

Downtown Coeur d'Alene

Locals and visitors alike find themselves gathering in downtown Coeur d’Alene throughout the year, not just for the shopping and dining, but the many community events that take place here throughout the year.

As many may already know, though others may not, the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association (DTA) is the organization responsible for maintaining the downtown core, ensuring it is free of garbage and graffiti. They are the ones who hang flower baskets, American flags and holiday lights, while working with businesses to ensure they are successful to avoid vacancies. They also work with these businesses to organize monthly community events for all to enjoy.

“The Downtown Association is made up of all the businesses located within the Business Improvement District (BID). The BID is also what you would consider the ‘downtown core,’” according to Emily Boyd, executive director of the DTA. “Our east and west boundaries are roughly Northwest Boulevard/Government Way intersection to Eighth Street, and North to Indiana and South to Front Avenue. Downtown is home to over 150 locally owned retail businesses and restaurants.”

Anyone located within the BID can interact and participate with the Downtown Association—as much or little as they would like. There is just one requirement of these businesses: that they be in good standing with their annual assessment. Determined by location, use and square footage of the businesses, these assessment rates have not been changed since the inception of the ordinance that was established in 1990!

“Different businesses utilize the DTA in different ways, whether it is being involved in events, connecting with fellow downtown businesses at a committee meeting, getting connected with resources or taking advantage of grants and marketing promotions, we are here,” smiles Emily. “I like to think of the DTA as a behind-the-scenes organization. We are here to assist the businesses any way possible, even the little things.”

Emily shares how proud she is of the growth of the organization over the past five years: The DTA earned and maintained National Main Street accreditation in 2018, which also allows businesses in the district to be eligible for additional funding–this was especially helpful during COVID. “In 2020, one of our downtown businesses was one of 10 businesses in the United States to receive a grant from American Express that they otherwise would have not been eligible for if they were not part of a designated main street.”

When it comes to events, they have grown the number of events throughout the year in addition to their attendance. In the past five years, they have gone from nine events, averaging 500 attendees, to 13 events (eight of which are free to attend), averaging 1,500 attendees!

“The goal of Downtown Association’s events is to create a sense of place for the community as well as generate foot traffic for the downtown businesses,” affirms Emily.

“Many of the events follow a model where attendees travel from business to business, whether it is tasting chocolate or mac and cheese, hunting for an Elf during Elf on the Shelf, or enjoying samples of wine or beer! Our events continue to grow, and after every event, we always have at least one business say, ‘We had a record sales day.’ This is huge when a business can beat summer sales in the dead of winter.”

Funds from the events go right back into downtown operations, according to Emily, and through the growth of the events, the DTA has been able to expand their scope of services.

Mark your calendars for their first two events of 2023: Mac & Cheese Festival, happening January 14, noon to 6pm; and The Chocolate Affair, scheduled for February 11 from 4 to 7pm. More info can be found online at CdADowntown.com.


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