The Bantams are backing Bradford’s bid to launch a business improvement district.
And Bradford City AFC joint owner Edin Rahic (pictured) is urging city centre businesses to “Vote Yes!” when the scheme goes to a ballot on September 13.
“It’s important the club is part of the city and I think it’s a great way to improve and bring businesses across Bradford together,” said Mr Rahic. “Every business should be involved in this project.”
More than 630 businesses and organisations in a defined area of the city centre will be asked to vote on whether the BID project should go ahead.
If a majority of those who take part vote in favour – and if, between them, they represent more than half of the total rateable value of the area’s properties – the BID will be formally established before the end of 2018 and will operate until December 2023.
In the event of a ‘Yes’ vote, all businesses in the area (except those below a threshold) will pay a small percentage levy on their business rates, raising more than £2.5 million over the BID term.
Bradford City is among a growing number of businesses outside the levy area that have already offered to make voluntary contributions of thousands of pounds a year to help ensure the BID is a success if it goes ahead.
Mr Rahic said: “If the city is successful, we are successful – helping us get to the Championship and bring more away fans from other clubs to Bradford. Backing the BID will show how proud we are to be Bradfordians and also how professional we are when doing business.
“It will benefit our supporters massively. Many live in Bradford so by the club being part of this project, we can help our fans love their city even more than they already do. By improving the city, this increases footfall and could possibly lead to more spectators attending our matches at The Northern Commercials Stadium – bringing everyone together.”
He said he was impressed by the BID’s Business Plan which was unveiled last month: “Bradford BID is a real project with a plan behind it. I think we know how we should use the money and this will show quick results. In the long term, the amount of money which is expected to come in will create a better atmosphere in the city.”
The Business Plan is organised into four key “pillars” – Safe, Clean, Alive and Promoted – to improve the safety, cleanliness, vitality and marketing of Bradford’s retail heart. Projects include a wide range of schemes from hot-washing the streets to smartening up empty shops, from helping reduce anti-social behaviour to additional city centre lighting schemes, from creating new festivals to bringing in special street markets, from marketing the city nationally to lobbying government for more investment.
Mr Rahić said: “The main aim would be to improve the city centre and bring in more people, whether that’s for work, leisure or someone’s new home. It would be great to see more energy in Bradford, to use the budget to improve empty shops and introduce more street entertainment, attracting more business.
“There are only positive factors from this plan, nothing negative. If everyone sticks together, it gives every business or company the best chance to improve and it shows proper commitment to our great city. So, I suppose the question is, why not support the BID?”
Ian Ward, chairman of the BID Development Board, said: “We are really thrilled that Bradford City are backing the BID and offering a major financial contribution to help ensure it works and works well, even though they are outside the defined BID area.
“The Bantams are a key part of the fabric of our community and if people feel good about the city they’ll feel good about the club – and vice versa.
“As well as being passionate about his football and his club, Edin is a businessman and he knows what businesses have to do to thrive. His support for the BID should encourage other business owners across the city centre to see that voting Yes in September is in all our interests.”