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About Downtown Management Organization (DMO)

History

The incorporation of the Downtown Management Organization (D.M.O.) took place on August 1, 1988. She is a direct result from the Curacao Action Group then active with the stimulation of Curacao’s economic development.

Initially the D.M.O. represented both sides of downtown Willemstad, the capital of Curacao and the Netherlands Antilles. In 1991, the Otrabanda organization decided that each side was better represented by their own individual organizations. Since then the D.M.O. represented the Punda side only. D.M.O. decided in 2001 that the organization would strive to bring the two sides together once more. D.M.O. achieved this through a Memorandum of Understanding, signed with the Sosiedat di Komersiante (Merchant Association) Otrabanda on January 7, 2005, which sealed their agreement to work together sharing common interests, responsibilities & benefits thus symbolically uniting Downtown Willemstad.

During the first five years, the D.M.O. received substantial subsidy from the island government of Curaçao. Together with the membership fees, which were based on square meters business space, and sponsor monies from our institutional members and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the D.M.O. was able, with a budget of over one million, to execute an extensive & comprehensive program for her members and downtown in general. In August 1995, the D.M.O. membership decided that due to diminishing operational and marketing budgets, the D.M.O. should be restructured. Marketing activities had to be organized on an a la carte basis and D.M.O.’s priorities had to be re-focused towards management tasks.

Since D.M.O's inception, one of the priorities was and still is a better control of the parking capacity in the downtown area. This resulted in managing the parking lots at Mariachi in 1989, Pietermaai in 1991 and De Ruyterkade/Central market in 1992. After deduction of the security and maintenance costs the remainder of the parking proceeds had to be deposited on a government account. In 1996 this situation officially changed. The government of the island territory of Curaçao signed a management agreement with the D.M.O for the lots. The parking lot at Plasa Mundo Merced (Waaigat) also falls under this agreement with the understanding that it remains free parking.

In the agreement it is specified which government tasks are delegated to the D.M.O. According to a dividing key, the D.M.O. appropriates the parking income to management/security costs, printing, and maintenance of the parking lots and management of the public toilets on the Handelskade. Any proceeds go towards downtown (mostly Punda) improvement projects.

The budget per year is of course not sufficient to take care of the large infrastructural works in Punda. Only small beautification projects and minor infrastructural works come out of D.M.O.’s management budget.

Vision

“The D.M.O, a leading organization in Curaçao, to manage all aspects of downtown development in order to provide a safe and friendly environment for people to live, work, shop and play.”

Goal: To increase D.M.O’s status and position in the community and empower the organization to execute programs, initiatives, influence governmental policy and effect change in Punda to the benefit of Downtown Willemstad, Curaçao for her achievement of regional and international recognition meriting the World Heritage City status.

Organization

The D.M.O. is a membership organization and has an associate status through her statutes which are notarized. The organization presently has a board of nine and staff of two. The board consists of two institutional members; one appointee by the Chamber of Commerce and six merchant members. The staff consists of two persons - one Executive Director and one Financial Administrator/Assistant to the Director.

The membership composition of the organization is comprised of institutional, general & associate members. The minimum membership fee for voting rights is Nafls. 1500.00 (approx. $850) per year. Membership is open to all persons or organizations that work or do business in Punda or have a stake in the welfare of Punda & Downtown Willemstad in general.

Income

The organization derives her income from membership dues, management of parking lots, project specific fundraising & donations. Funds are crucial to guarantee the organization’s management responsibilities and safeguarding her official public/private partnership with government.

Activities & Expertise

Parking management & coordination, Security, Maintenance, Consumer marketing & advertising (Punda Quality Establishments), Events organizing & coordination, Public space regulation, Business recruitment & retention, Urban design, Social services; Capital improvements. Expertise: Downtown management, Membership support & finances, destination development & marketing (incl. cruise), Image building & networking and Government relations.

Priority Areas

Business Improvement District (BID), Parking Authority, Cleanliness & Safety, Duty Free Downtown, Residential Development, Retail Revitalization & Recruitment.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

Sosiedat di Komersiante (Merchants Association) Otrabanda (SKO) – Jan. 2005

Affiliation

International Downtown Association (I.D.A.), based in Washington D.C., Member since 2003. Website: www.ida-downtown.org.

Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association (CHATA), based in Curaçao, N.A., Allied member since 1996. Website: www.chata.org.