The Louisiana State Legislature created the Core Area Development District of the City of New Orleans (the nation’s first ever assessment-based business improvement district) on July 12, 1974. The bill authorized the Core Area Development District, upon approval of local voters, to raise funds through a 10-mill tax on properties within the District.
The Core Area Development District officially went into business, albeit on paper, on January 1, 1975. The organization wasn’t staffed until after November 1975, when local voters authorized the collection of 6.5 mills of the possible 10-mill property tax. The taxing authority was granted for two years, then renewed in 1977 for an additional 10 years.
On December 8, 1979, long before the DDD’s 10-year lifespan was up, another successful citywide referendum did several things for the DDD. It authorized the DDD to raise its property tax rate to as much as 22.9 mills (a privilege the DDD has never exercised); it gave the DDD the authority to sell up to $7.5 million in bonds for use in capital improvement projects; it extended the DDD’s lifespan for an additional 25 years to December 31, 2005; and it provided for a future election in which voters could extend the DDD for an additional 25 years beyond 2005.
That election was held on April 7, 2001. With 60% voting in favor, the DDD’s lifespan was extended through 2030. After the vote, the DDD, for the first time in its history, sold bonds in the amount of $7.3 million to fund its Downtown-wide capital improvement program, including $5 million for the Canal Street streetscape program. The $17 million Canal Street streetscape project is also funded by the City of New Orleans via the Canal Street Development Corporation.