$1.6 million investment in neighborhood business districts announced; White Center will see some funding for CDA
Mayor Mike McGinn announced a $1.6 million investment in 17 neighborhood business districts as part of the Seattle Jobs Plan on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Only a small amount, in fact that number was not disclosed, will come to help our area, specifically White Center. Outgoing White Center Chamber of Commerce President Mark Ufkes said, "this is funding to support part of the Neighborhood Revitalization staff position with the WCCDA."
Most of the funding will go to Pioneer Square, Chinatown, Capitol Hill, University District and other neighborhoods aimed at improving those business districts by enhancing marketing, promotion, cleaning graffiti, making other cosmetic efforts and helping develop business organizations.
“Seattle’s neighborhoods are one of the reasons we attract talented people and growing companies,” said Mayor McGinn. “That’s why investing in our dynamic neighborhood business districts is critical to our overall economic vitality.”
Small businesses employ 72 percent of Seattle’s workforce and contribute 35 percent of the city’s business tax revenues, totaling $55.4 million. Our local neighborhood business districts serve as the location and incubators for many of the city’s small businesses. The Seattle Jobs Plan specifically targets investment in Seattle’s neighborhood business districts.
“The Only in Seattle program is a great complement to the city’s neighborhood planning efforts that have happened throughout the years,” said Council President Sally Clark. “These investments help the major players in neighborhood business districts execute concrete steps towards a common vision.”
The Office of Economic Development (OED)’s Only in Seattle Initiative (OIS) is a partnership with Impact Capital, which supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create healthy business districts:
- Business and retail development (supporting businesses, enhancing business mix);
- Marketing and promotion (events, social media, district advertising);
- Clean and safe (graffiti removal, dumpster free alleys, lighting);
- Streetscape and appearance (catalytic development projects, façade, public art); and
- Business organization development to sustain the effort, including participation of an existing Business Improvement Area (BIA) or commitment to form one.
The local business communities in these eight neighborhoods have developed comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing a total of $727,000 in 2013.
- Beacon Hill $ 57,500
- Capitol Hill / 12th Avenue $100,000
- Chinatown / International District $168,500
- Columbia City $ 65,000
- MLK (Rainier Valley) $ 76,000
- Pioneer Square $100,000
- Rainier Beach $ 65,000
- University District $ 95,000
“Ballard is a great place to live, work, shop and play. As a result, we are bursting at the seams. The Only in Seattle grant allows us to assemble community stakeholders – from retailers and restaurants to industrial businesses, major employers and Ballard residents – and create a unified vision for commercial revitalization that makes sense for Ballard today and in the future,” said Scott Ingham, Co-President of the Ballard Chamber Board of Directors.
OIS is also investing $115,000 to support focused investments in additional neighborhoods, Focused investments will be made in these neighborhoods: Ballard, Georgetown, Madison Valley, and South Park.
This year, $450,000 was also granted to neighborhoods for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience. In 2013, those neighborhoods are:
· University District
· Pioneer Square
· Chinatown/International District
· Pike/Pine Corridor - Downtown
“In the Chinatown/International District, we’re pleased to continue our façade program and clean and safe activities, and we’re especially excited that the Only in Seattle funding this year was expanded to include infrastructure projects,” said Joyce Pisnanont, IdeaSpace Manager at Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda). “For us, we’ll be able to continue our work on Maynard and Canton Alley, which are two alleys of major cultural significance to our neighborhood that have been priority projects for a long time.”
Other Program Highlights – The Only in Seattle funding will also include approximately $300,000 that will invest in the following programs.
The city will continue the Only in Seattle marketing campaign in 16 neighborhoods, which highlights the hidden gems of shopping and dining in Seattle’s neighborhoods (www.onlyinseattle.org).
The city also will invest to build strong business-focused organizational capacity to sustain the efforts of neighborhood business districts in Capitol Hill / 12th Avenue, Central Area, MLK (Rainier Valley), Georgetown, Roosevelt, Wallingford and White Center. Support for Business Improvement Areas (BIA) will occur in the following neighborhoods: Capitol Hill / 12th Avenue, Chinatown/International District, Madison Valley, Pioneer Square, and University District.
Support a façade improvement program in the Chinatown/International District to develop and improve three façades through the business community.
OED will fund and manage this program in partnership with Impact Capital, a Seattle-based community development financial institution serving underserved communities throughout Washington.