Highlighting Downtown Arcadia: Hello from Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association

By Martin Gandell

As the current President of the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association (DAIA), I’d like to welcome you to the first installment of what will be an ongoing bi-weekly series of informative articles highlighting Downtown Arcadia.  There are many exciting changes happening in the area, and we will be discussing a wide range of topics we think will be of interest to Arcadia residents, Downtown Arcadia businesses, and visitors.  The articles will be authored by a rotating cast of writers from the DAIA Board, Downtown Arcadia business owners, City of Arcadia staff members, and other guests.  As a sneak preview, two weeks from today, an article by Arcadia City Mayor and DAIA Board member Peter Amundson will discuss some of the exciting new businesses and developments coming to Downtown Arcadia, and on Oct. 12, Tim Schwehr of the City of Arcadia Economic Development Division will explain the City’s brand new “Business Friendly Zoning Code” for the area.

However, for our kickoff article, I wanted to talk a little bit about the DAIA organization itself, including who we are, what we do, and the reason behind the formation of this group.  Established in 2013, the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association (DAIA) is a Community Benefits District (CBD) consisting of property owners and merchants committed to enhancing and promoting the Downtown Arcadia experience.  The DAIA area encompasses the “historic core” of Downtown Arcadia centered on the Huntington Drive/1st Ave. intersection.  (See Map).

The DAIA formed through a ballot measure voted on and approved by the majority of property owners within the district boundaries. The measure levies an annual tax assessment on properties in the district based on a combination of lot size, building size and street frontage.  This revenue raised goes to the DAIA organization and is used to fund sidewalk improvements, marketing, special events and other items for the district.  For additional information on the DAIA and upcoming events and improvements coming to the area, visit

Another important function of the DAIA is to advocate on behalf of Downtown Arcadia. Our organization helps support businesses looking to locate to the area, distributes best practices information to existing businesses and property owners in the district and advocates for smart parking solutions for the district.  The DAIA’s Board meetings (held at 2 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at Matt Denny’s) will also sometimes include presentations early in the concept and design phase for new development projects. The Board Members, speaking on behalf of district property owners and businesses, advise developers on the appropriateness and feasibility of their potential downtown development project. This can effectively help to move things productively in the right direction.

As President of the DAIA and a property owner in the district, I am excited and enthusiastic about Downtown Arcadia’s future.  On behalf of the DAIA Board, we look forward to regularly updating the Arcadia Weekly readers on all the great things happening in our district.


1 – Map 1 highlights the downtown area of Arcadia. – Courtesy photo

2 – Map 2 highlights shopping and dining attractions in the heart of Arcadia. – Courtesy photo

September 18, 2017

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