About BUP

The Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) is charged with maintaining, beautifying and
promoting downtown Bethesda. It is one of the many reasons why, alongside its location,
acclaimed schools, access to public transportation and urban amenities, Bethesda is
considered one of the most renowned communities in the nation. All of us, including
residents, business owners, commuters, shoppers and visitors, have a vested interest in
its continued success.
It is an important year for BUP with the adoption of the new Bethesda Downtown Sector
Plan and the prospect of significant, new development. Fortunately, it also time to
prepare our new, Five-Year Strategic Plan, that will guide the organization’s efforts during
a dynamic time of change. In spring 2017, BUP conducted focus groups and gathered
feedback about Bethesda from a section of community stakeholders. The findings along
with a public survey will inform the next iteration of the Strategic Plan.

I am honored to have been chosen by the BUP Board of Directors to be Chairman. It
affords me the opportunity to work with the Board and staff to ensure this organization
offers the highest quality service to the downtown community. As the 2016-2017 fiscal
year ends, our team is happy to share this past year’s achievements on the following
pages of our report and looks forward to further success and collaboration.

Best regards,
John C. Alexander, Chair
Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc.

The Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc., (BUP) is the organization charged with the management and marketing of downtown Bethesda. Bethesda is home to numerous retailers, arts organizations, a thriving restaurant community and an expansive downtown workforce. Established by Montgomery County in 1994, BUP fulfills the landscaping and maintenance needs and creates cultural events and exciting festivals for the community. In its 19-year operation, BUP created Bethesda Transportation Solutions (BTS) in 2000, established the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District in 2002 and has grown from two full-time staff members to more than 35 employees working in maintenance, marketing, transportation and administration.

BUP is evaluated every five years by Montgomery County and has been reauthorized three times by the County’s Office of Legislative Oversight to continue its mission of making Bethesda a great place to live, work and play. In 2013, BUP completed its five-year Strategic Plan which was based on focus group and survey feedback as well as recommendations from the BUP, BTS and Arts & Entertainment boards and committees. The plan was presented to Montgomery County and they will evaluate the plan as well as BUP’s role in the community, and reauthorization will take place in early 2014.

BUP is operated by an 11-member Board of Directors comprising residents, businesses and developers appointed by the County Executive. BUP is funded primarily by revenue generated from the Bethesda Parking Lot District fees, in addition to the commercial Urban District property tax. Private sponsors also partner with BUP on community events such as Taste of Bethesda and the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.


Tree-lined streets, attractive street scape and beautiful flowers are a signature of Bethesda's vibrant community and a testament to the hard work BUP's maintenance team and urban beautification squad that is hard at work six days a week keeping Bethesda clean and attractive. BUP's urban beautification squad is out sweeping the streets, removing litter three times daily, planting 32,000 flowers in three annual rotations, trimming 1,200 trees, maintaining 188,000 square feet of turf and power washing Bethesda's signature brick sidewalks. BUP's maintenance team also offers support at downtown Bethesda's large-scale events such as Taste of Bethesda and the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival. Additionally, BUP's Ask Me Team assists guests, fields questions, provides motorist assistance and offers first aid and quick response in emergency situations during afternoons and weekends Wednesday through Sunday.


BUP’s marketing  team creates year-round community events, produces free guides that detail Bethesda’s restaurant, retail, home fashion and arts organizations and operates downtown Bethesda’s Web site, www.bethesda.org. The efforts of BUP’s marketing team target downtown Bethesda’s residents, tourists, visitors and employees. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is also managed by BUP’s marketing team. BUP's marketing team is the producer of the Bethesda Literary Festival, Imagination Bethesda, Taste of Bethesda, a free Summer Concert Series, Winter Wonderland and Bethesda Outdoor Movies: Stars on the Avenue. To stay up to date on all of the Bethesda Urban Partnership's events and amenities, please join the BUP email list.


The state of Maryland designated downtown Bethesda as an Arts & Entertainment District effective July 1, 2002. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is comprised of a 12-member Board of Directors as well as an advisory committee of local artists and arts businesses representatives. The mission of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is to create and implement arts and entertainment projects that contribute to the artistic, cultural and economic growth of downtown Bethesda. Special tax incentives are in place that will benefit artists, arts enterprises and developers that are located within the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is the producer of the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival, The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, the Bethesda Painting Awards, the Bethesda Art Walk, Dance Bethesda, Play In A Day, and manages Gallery B and Studio B.


Bethesda Transportation Solutions helps manage the traffic in downtown Bethesda by marketing local, state and federal commuter benefits programs and tax incentives to employers. BTS promotes alternative transportation such as rail, bus, carpools and biking with the goal of reducing the number of Bethesda employees who drive alone to work.