Block Island Times

R.I. legislative committee considers tourism improvement districts

The Block Island Tourism Council has been exploring the idea of tourism improvement districts over the past several months and trying to pitch the concept to the Town Council for support.Tourist improvement districts are the hot new thing in supporting a shared vision of needs that goes beyond what any particular municipality or organization has the ability or authority to fund. They have been around for a while, but in Rhode Island, state legislation limits them to three areasof the state only, including Newport, but not including Block Island.That may all change if legislation introduced on March 2 and referred to the House Municipal Government and Housing committee passes. The new legislation would allow for the formation of improvement districts in any municipality in the state.
The Block Island Tourism Council, recognizing the current limit to three areas of the state, had plans to introduce enabling legislation to allow for an improvement district on Block Island and was pursuing the needed endorsement from the Town Council. That may become unnecessary if this bill goes through.At its meeting on March 15, Tourism Director Jessica Willi said that Providence wanted legislation that would apply statewide. “So that actually moves much

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