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

SEATTLE (February 12, 2018) – 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.

You can read more about specific awards here.