CONCORD -- Downtown property owners are considering taxing themselves to keep popular downtown events from going extinct.
Under consideration is establishing a business improvement district in which property owners within an eight-block area around Todos Santos Plaza would pay a fee to fund improvements in the downtown.
The fees would pay for hosting downtown music and holiday events, which for years have been a major draw of customers into downtown. The money could also be used to hire security guards.
"I think they are imperative," Jeff Woods said of the events. "I wasn't here but I've heard stories that back in the '60s and '70s downtown Concord was considered to be a dangerous place, a lot of unsavory characters, drug deals, all that kind of stuff was going on down here.
"I think that if you don't have positive things happening in your neighborhood it sort of creates a vacuum and the negative stuff filters in," said Woods, who represents the property owners of Salvio Pacheco Square.
Concord's redevelopment agency has funded the events in downtown since they began 24 years ago, said John Montagh, the city's redevelopment and housing manager.
The state's successful attempt last year to eliminate redevelopment agencies dealt the events a blow. About half of them were cut, said Montagh.
The rest were held together with donations by local corporations and money from the pockets of people attending the events.
The 13th annual Target Pops on the Plaza concert with the California Symphony was moved to a new night this year -- Aug. 30 -- and is benefiting from a $500 donation from the Concord Associates for the Performing Arts, a new nonprofit.
More than $20,000 was raised during the summer music programs by passing around a jug at downtown events on Thursdays, said Montagh.
He is encouraged by the community's rallying around the events, but said there needs to be a dedicated revenue source.
The business improvement district would be organized as a nonprofit with a board and modeled after one in Union Square in San Francisco, where security guards are hired to patrol the area, said Joe Heinz of the Todos Santos Business Association.
The association has not taken an official stance on the matter, but Heinz said there has been some concern.
"This is basically a taxation of property owners," said Heinz. "At some point, it might lead to higher rents."
David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.