by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Mayor Ed Murray announced new funding for improvements to Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods at an April 1 press conference. The $2 million investment comes from the Only in Seattle (OIS) Initiative.
'This investment in neighborhood business districts is critical to our city,' Murray said at the presser. 'Healthy business districts equate to thriving businesses, stable jobs and overall success for our city.'
Capitol Hill will get $150,000 to help local small businesses and the Broadway BIA (Business Improvement Area) market the neighborhood and improve its appearance by removing graffiti, installing public art, and improving lighting.
'The Only in Seattle Initiative is a great complement to the city's neighborhood planning efforts that have happened throughout the years,' said Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the City Council's Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency.
'These investments help the major players in neighborhood business districts execute concrete steps towards a common vision.'
The Pike/Pine Corridor will also share in a $500,000 capital improvements grant, intended to 'enhance the commercial district experience.'
The OIS Initiative is a project of the City's Office of Economic Development (OED) intended to help small businesses based in the city's neighborhoods. Small businesses employ 72% of Seattle's workforce and contribute 35% of the city's business tax revenues, totaling $55.4 million, the Mayor's office said in a press release.
Capitol Hill was one of seven neighborhoods targeted for OIS funds, the others being Ballard, Beacon Hill, Chinatown/International District, Rainier Valley, Rainier Beach, and the University District.
'The local business communities in these seven neighborhoods have developed comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing a total of over $1.2 million in 2014,' the Mayor's office said in their press statement.
OIS is also investing $164,000 to help business districts organize and develop such action plans in Belltown, the Central District, First Hill, Georgetown, Lake City, and South Park.
Neighborhoods slated for capital improvements include Ballard, Chinatown, First Hill, Pioneer Square, Roosevelt, and the University District along with the Pike/Pine Corridor.
OIS is providing an additional $60,000 to support focused investments in: Columbia City, Fremont, and Pioneer Square.
An additional $119,000 will go towards creating or enhancing BIAs in Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Chinatown/International District, First Hill, Lake City, and the University District.
The OIS program was launched by Murray's predecessor, Mike McGinn, in February 2013, and claims its greatest success in revamping Pioneer Square.
'In Pioneer Square, the recruitment strategy developed in 2012 with the help of community stakeholders and funding from Only in Seattle suggested guidelines for a particular mix of restaurants, retail, and services, and recommended leading the recruitment effort with food,' said Karen True, director of business development, Alliance for Pioneer Square.
'We're very excited about our success in finding those quality, intriguing, and relevant retail businesses that help make Pioneer Square an even better place to live, work, and visit. 26 new storefront businesses opened in Pioneer Square in 2013, 15 of them restaurants, and more are scheduled to open this summer.'
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