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.

Established by Montgomery County in 1994, Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. (BUP) is a downtown management organization that maintains and markets
downtown Bethesda. The organization was developed to promote downtown Bethesda as a desirable place to live, work and visit as well as foster a
community that features restaurants, retailers, arts venues and more.
The BUP team includes more than 35 employees working in marketing, maintenance, transportation and administration who produce cultural events and community festivals and attend to landscaping and maintenance needs. BUP also manages Bethesda Transportation Solutions (BTS), the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, and the Bethesda Circulator as well as the non-profit art spaces, Gallery B and Studio B. 

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


Bethesda’s sidewalks, streets and flowerbeds are meticulously maintained by the 14-person BUP maintenance team. Throughout the week the team
manages trash removal, cleans and repairs streets, trims trees, maintains 188,000 square feet of turf and more. Throughout the year the team plants
32,000 flowers, landscaping the flowerbeds and large sidewalk pots with seasonal blooms. The dedicated team is also on site at the festivals and events throughout the year. They assist in setting up and unloading supplies as well as keeping the event site clean and safe. They provide on-site emergency assistance and help to breakdown the events, tidying the area and reopening streets. In addition to their help at events, the crew looks after maintenance needs at Gallery B and Studio B, BUP’s nonprofit art exhibit and studio space. The team is certified in First Aid, CPR and AED.


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 Imagination Bethesda, Taste of Bethesda, a free Summer Concert Series, Yappy Hour, 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 Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards, Play In A Day, "Paint the Town," 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.