Photo by Shane Harms
Mayor Murray and Mike Stewart at Bastille Cafe April 1.

Ballard to receive $85 thousand from Only in Seattle Initiative

April 1 - Mayor Ed Murray joined neighborhood business district leaders and local business owners at Bastille Café to announce 18 neighborhood business districts will be receiving a $2 million investment as part of the Only in Seattle Initiative.

“This investment in neighborhood business districts is critical to our city,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Healthy business districts equate to thriving businesses, stable jobs and overall success for our city.”

Small businesses make up 72 percent of Seattle’s workforce and create 35 percent of the city’s business tax revenues, totaling $55.4 million.

The Office of Economic Development (OED)’s Only in Seattle Initiative (OIS) has been coordinating the funding allocation in order to support economic vitality in neighborhood business districts.

The initiative focuses on key strategies to create healthy business districts. Areas focused on are 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 exploration to form one.

Ballard is to receive $85 thousand from the fund. The Only in Seattle funding will also invest approximately $119,000 to help neighborhood business districts explore or enhance Business Improvement Areas (BIA) in the following neighborhoods: Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Chinatown/International District, First Hill, Lake City, and University District.

In addition, this year Ballard was one of the neighborhoods to receive funding from $500 thousand that was granted to neighborhoods for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience.

Mike Stewart, Executive Director of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce spoke at the event and introduced Mayor Murray.

“It’s no surprise to anyone in this room that Ballard has seen a lot of changes. It was over a year ago that the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors got together several stakeholders to engage in a conversation about the need to start working together and begin shaping Ballard’s future, rather than letting the new growth and development completely reshape Ballard,” said Stewart.

Stewart mentioned how the 2013 Only in Seattle Grant awarded to Ballard facilitated a partnership (Ballard for Smart Growth) with over 50 property owners, residents, and stakeholders from the maritime, retail and restaurant industries. Through their collaboration, they have created a framework plan to shape Ballard’s future .

Stewart named five key areas identified in the plan: urban design and transportation, business retention and economic development, marketing and promotion, safety and cleanliness, and establishing a long term leadership organization for Ballard.

“While they (constitutes of the Ballard Smart Growth Plan) may have divergent interests, it is clear that there’s consensus among those groups, and there are many areas in which we can align. What’s more is that the Ballard Central Core would benefit significantly with the creation of our own long term and sustainably funded leadership organization that ensures we can be working together toward common goals, especially during these times of change and transition.”

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