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9 more precincts to join Singapore's pilot scheme to liven up districts

NINE new precincts will join the pilot Business Improvement District (BID) programme to drive efforts in enlivening the city, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Monday.

With more active participation by stakeholders, the public can look forward to more vibrant districts and attractive public spaces, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Monday at URA's annual Place Management Seminar.

The precincts will also host activities and programmes that the public can participate in.

The nine precincts are China Place, City Hall, Jurong Gateway, Kampong Glam, Marina Bay, Marina Centre, Paya Lebar, Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar.

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URA said in a statement that the precincts are of a good mix, with different characteristics, from historic and civic districts to mixed-use precincts in and outside the city centre.

It said that stakeholders will take on a more active role in transforming their precincts and surrounding public spaces under the pilot BID programme. The Government, in turn, will support them in their efforts to enliven the precincts and improve visitor experience.

Selected precincts will develop detailed business plans and have to get at least 51 per cent support from stakeholders within the defined boundary in their respective precincts to form pilot BIDs.

The Government will then provide dollar-for-dollar matching for the membership fees collected by each pilot BID up to a cap of $500,000 per year, for the first four years of the pilot programme.

The funding will help the pilot BIDs kick-start the initial phase of their place management efforts and set the foundation for them to expand their plans over time.

In September last year, URA had invited the stakeholders to form pilot BIDs by submitting their proposals to bring vibrancy to the precinct over four years.

URA received nine submissions and they were all selected to join the pilot programme. The authority added that their submitted proposals have leveraged the distinctive characteristics of the various precincts.

Singapore River One (SRO) was the first pilot BID formed in 2017. Over the past year, the area has observed greater participation from stakeholders in place management and higher footfall to the area, the URA statement said. Its two key festivals, St Patrick's Day Street Festival and Singapore River Festival, also attracted more visitors through more coordinated marketing and promotion.

SRO executive director Michelle Koh said that joining the pilot BID programme has given the precinct more certainty in its resource planning.

"We are now able to plan activities for the longer term, explore infrastructure improvements and implement robust marketing campaigns to draw visitors to the precinct," she said.

THE STRAITS TIMES