City of Seattle Awards $1.6 Million to Neighborhood Businesses Districts

Mayor Mike McGinn joined staff from the Office of Economic Development and representatives from Seattle’s neighborhood business districts to announce the City’s $1.6 million investment in 17 neighborhood business districts across the city.

The investment was announced at Maya’s Mexican Restaurant in Rainier Valley. Neighborhood business leaders from  Ballard, Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, Chinatown/ID, Columbia City, Georgetown, Madison Valley, Pioneer Square, Rainier Beach, Rainier Valley, South Park, University District, and Wallingford spoke about the projects and exciting visions for their neighborhoods.

“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.”

A large portion of the funding went to neighborhoods that have developed comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing a total of $727,000 in 2013. Which breaks down as:

  • 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

“I’m excited that the city is investing in the three major business nodes of the Rainier Valley: Columbia City, Rainier Beach and Othello,” said Susan Davis, Executive Director of the Rainier Chamber of Commerce. “This funding will help ensure that we can bring business leaders together to maximize the potential of each of these major business areas.”

“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
  • Roosevelt
  • 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 (Also on Twitter and Facebook).
  • 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.

“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.

More information can be found in the Press Release from the Mayor’s Office.

Feature Film ‘A Bit of Bad Luck’ Wraps Shooting in Seattle and Morton

The Washington Filmworks production incentive project A Bit of Bad Luck recently wrapped principal photography after shooting 22 days in Seattle and Morton, Washington. This is one of 15 projects approved for funding assistance by Washington Filmworks. These 15 projects spent an estimated $10 million in Washington’s economy in five months.


“Our movie was shot in Seattle and Morton, and the locations were perfect for us to tell this story. The incentive made it possible for us to stay and film here in Washington. Without the incentive we would not have had the funds to complete the project, and just as important, there would not have been such talented crew available locally to support the production,” said Producer Gerrarda O’Beirne.


The feature film was written and directed by John Fuhman and stars Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Teri Polo (Meet the Parents), and Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate). It tells the story of Brooks Caldwell, a man who has it all: money, power, and a beautiful socialite wife. When Brooks plans a weekend romp with his young mistress, his wife sets in motion an elaborate plot of revenge.


Neighborhood Projects Fund now open for applications

From Mayor McGinn’s Blog:

The Neighborhood Projects Fund (NPF) is now taking applications for neighborhood-generated projects focused on park or street improvements. Applications are due February 1, 2012 at 5 p.m.

The NPF is made up of two funding sources – Cumulative Reserve Funds (CRF) and Neighborhood Street Funds (NSF). The fund will accept applications for projects valued up to $90K for park or street improvements, such as pathway upgrades, tennis court repaving, accessibility improvements, traffic calming, playground upgrades, school zone speed limit signs, etc. This funding source is not recommended for sidewalks, as sidewalks are typically more expensive than this funding allows.

You may apply to the fund by completing the application form which is available from yourNeighborhood District Coordinator or online at  Applications can be submitted by mail (PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA  98124-4649, Attn: Wendy Watson), by FAX at 206-233-5142, or by email to

South Park bridge receives funding from City, construction bid comes in under estimate

Before the bridge closed last summer, the Metropolitan King County Council adopted legislation that provided the County Executive with funding authority needed to assist in the construction of a new bridge. The residents and businesses dependent on the disabled South Park Bridge are a step closer to a replacement with unanimous adoption by the Metropolitan King County Council of agreements to fund construction of a new structure. 

Last month, Seattle City Council approved the agreement with King County regarding South Park Bridge funding. The Council was the first entity to pledge funds for this project. More information, as well as statements from Council president Richard Conlin, can be found here.

Most recently, the bid process to construct the new bridge yielded a lower than estimated proposal from a joint venture of Omaha-based Kiewit Construction and Kansas City’s Massman Construction. The $96.1 million bid was $11 million under the engineer’s estimate. Construction is slated to start in May, 2011. For more information on the low bid, click here.

The cost of the entire bridge replacement project is currently estimated at $167 million. Federal grants, including $34 million in TIGER II grant funds, are guaranteed for the construction of the bridge. King County, the City of Seattle, Port of Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) and state funds will cover the remaining cost of construction. 

Rebuilding the span is a priority for the region: more than 20,000 vehicles used the bridge every day and it was an important freight corridor that linked the manufacturing and industrial centers of Seattle with the rest of the region.  South Park Bridge construction will mean approximately 200 new jobs and restoration of a transportation corridor that is critical to the regional economy.

For more information, visit the South Park Lives website.

Seattle, King County receive $500,000 to preserve nonprofit arts jobs

Federal stimulus dollars are coming to the aid of local arts organizations struggling in the recession. The City of Seattle and 4Culture, King County’s cultural services agency, announced this week that they will receive $500,000 in federal stimulus funds to preserve nonprofit arts jobs in jeopardy or recently cut due to the economic downturn.

In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) made public direct allocations totaling $450,000 in federal stimulus funds to support jobs at 12 Seattle nonprofit arts organizations. A complete list of funded local arts organizations can be found on the NEA’s website.

“We are focused on creating and saving jobs in all areas of our local economy. The arts are essential to the health and vitality of our city,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “I want to thank Congress and the Obama Administration for helping nonprofit arts organizations preserve jobs and keep our economy moving.”

The Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and 4Culture will each distribute the federal job preservation dollars through a competitive application process. An estimated 215 organizations currently funded through the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs’ or 4Culture’s organizational support programs are eligible to apply.

The deadline to apply to the city and county is Monday, August 10th. Applications and guidelines for the stimulus grants from the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs are available here; 4Culture’s application and guidelines are available here.