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Mayor Durkan Announces $1.2 Million for Neighborhood Business Districts to Help Small Businesses

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today joined neighborhood business district leaders and business owners to announce a $1.2 million investment in all 23 neighborhood business districts as part of the Only in Seattle Initiative, which provides investments and staff support to foster inclusive neighborhood business districts that allow small businesses to thrive.

“Seattle’s small businesses are part of who we are as a City: innovative, dynamic, and unique. Supporting our neighborhood small businesses is key to making our City more vibrant, innovative, and affordable,” said Mayor Durkan. “If Seattle is going to continue to be the City that invents the future, we must do all we can to support our small businesses.”

Since taking office, Mayor Durkan has also created a new Small Business Advisory Council, a group tasked with ensuring small businesses have a role in informing policies and programs, and have the access to resources they need to thrive and be part of the solutions to the challenges of growth and Seattle’s affordability crisis.

“Our small businesses are not just an essential driver of our economy, but part of the cultural fabric that makes our unique and sometimes quirky neighborhood business districts, and Seattle itself, so special. Residents and tourists alike enjoy diverse cultural experiences across Seattle, from Little Saigon to Lake City,” said Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Office of Economic Development. “The City and the Office of Economic Development are here to support our local stakeholders, as they create a sense of place and promote ownership in their communities.”

The Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle initiative supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create strong business districts including supporting current small businesses, business retail and development programs, technical assistance and problem-solving for minority owned businesses, community events, improving public spaces, and creation of potentially new Business Improvement Areas (BIA).

“Beacon Hill has grown mightily since starting out in the Only in Seattle Initiative in 2010,” says Angela Castañeda of the Beacon Hill Merchants Association. “Our business and community have rallied to support major developments like El Centro’s development of affordable housing and micro business space, to local activations like the Beacon Hill Block Party and Dozer’s Warehouse. We are excited to receive additional investment to build on this existing momentum.”

Organizations may apply to a variety of service or grant tiers as part of the Initiative. Districts are constantly evolving and can progress cyclically through various stages of development from organizing, transforming, and established. Districts were awarded funding based on matching criteria in the Action Plan, Business Improvement Area, Racial Equity Inclusion, and Public Space Improvements tiers of development.


More about the awards:

Local business communities in 23 neighborhoods are developing, have developed, or are launching comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing $1 million in 2018.

Aurora Licton Village-$20,000
Ballard -$20,000
Beacon Hill – $50,000
Belltown – $60,000
Capitol Hill – $87,000
Central Area – $104,000
Chinatown/ID – $135,000
Crownhill – $10,000
*Downtown – $15,000
Delridge – $20,000
First Hill – $40,000
Georgetown – $15,000
Greenwood/Phinney – $40,000
Hillman City – $25,000
Lake City – $83,000
Mount Baker – $45,000
MLK/Othello – $135,600
Pioneer Square – $35,000
Rainier Beach – $55,000
South Lake Union – $10,000
South Park – $62,500
Uptown – $30,000
West Seattle – $10,000

Action Plan – $1,000,000 will be invested in 22 neighborhood business districts to deliver programs and services based on one or more of the Only in Seattle strategies from the bulleted list above.

Business Improvement Area (BIA) – $32,000 will be invested in six neighborhoods to assist in exploring or forming a BIA. Existing BIAs have generated over $50 million over the last three years to fund clean and safe, marketing and events, and business retail and development programs across Seattle. Beacon Hill, Belltown, Central Area, Chinatown/International District, First Hill, and Lake City will receive this benefit.

Racial Equity and Inclusion – $44,000 will be invested in six neighborhood business districts that will receive the support of Community Liaisons – bi-lingual, bi-cultural outreach consultants – that offer technical assistance and problem-solving for minority owned businesses in their districts. This service is offered in partnership with the Department of Neighborhoods. Furthermore, a training cohort to assist with developing tools and identifying resources to build equity in their work plans will be developed. The neighborhoods are Ballard, Belltown, Central Area, Chinatown/ID/Little Saigon, Lake City, and Mt. Baker.

Public Space Improvements – $138,000 will be invested in eight neighborhoods with paid on-street parking, predominately low- or moderate-income neighborhoods, or neighborhoods with significant construction impacts for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience.
Central Area – $25,000 to support businesses during construction with additional signage, marketing, and improved pedestrian access.
Chinatown/International District – $31,000 to design, create and install a mosaic on the Danny Woo garden wall along Main St, and install a new fence in the garden. Also, the historic Filipino kiosk will be relocated.
First Hill – $60,000 to improve safety and walkability by adding flexipave to select tree pits, add additional artwork to existing signal boxes, and expand park activation.
Lake City – $10,000 to expand the mural program with local artists and youth at key sites within the district.
Downtown – $12,000 to improve pedestrian lighting at the entrance to the Westlake Station.
Additional investments at the Ballard Commons Park activation; in Capitol Hill for designing the Neighbors and Egyptian alleyway, and Pioneer Square to replace broken or sunken brick pavers in Occidental Square.

*Downtown is not a multi-year strategy but rather a specific project and is included in the list for recognition as one of the neighborhoods receiving funding.