Murray announces $1.4 million for neighborhood small businesses

Today Mayor Ed Murray joined neighborhood business district leaders and local business owners at Chaco Canyon in Seattle’s Greewood Phinney neighborhood to announce a $1.4 million investment in 24 neighborhoods as part of the Only in Seattle initiative.

“Seattle is a fast growing, national leader and small businesses make up the backbone of our economy,” said Mayor Murray. “We work with local leaders and business owners on Only in Seattle grants to develop a shared vision to bring a diversity of shops and restaurants – and jobs – to neighborhoods throughout Seattle.”

“Neighborhood business districts are the economic engines of our city. Not only do people enjoy spending time dining, shopping and playing in business districts, but increasingly people want to live near them. The Only in Seattle initiative helps foster neighborhood businesses by supporting community and community leadership,” said Brian Surratt, Director of the Office of Economic Development.

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:

  • Business and retail development (supporting businesses, attracting new businesses)
  • Marketing and promotion (events, social media, district advertising)
  • Clean and safe (graffiti removal, garbage pick-up, lighting)
  • Streetscape and appearance (catalytic development projects, façade, public art)
  • Business organization development to sustain the effort, including the creation of a Business Improvement Area (BIA) or exploration to form one.

The local business communities in 21 neighborhoods are developing, have developed, or are launching comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing $1 million in 2017:

  • Aurora Licton Village, $15,000
  • Ballard, $10,000
  • Beacon Hill, $37,000
  • Belltown, $50,000
  • Capitol Hill, $100,000
  • Central Area, $100,000
  • Chinatown/International District, $135,000
  • First Hill, $40,000
  • Georgetown, $15,000
  • Greenwood/Phinney, $35,000
  • Hillman City, $15,000
  • Lake City, $75,000
  • Magnolia Village, $10,000
  • Mount Baker, $35,000
  • MLK/Othello, $135,600
  • Pioneer Square, $20,000
  • Queen Anne, $10,000
  • Rainier Beach, $69,000
  • South Lake Union, $10,000
  • South Park, $54,000
  • West Seattle, $20,000

In addition, Only in Seattle is granting $75,000 to nine neighborhoods to explore or create a Business Improvement Area (BIA). The nine neighborhoods are: Chinatown/ID, Capitol Hill, SODO, First Hill, Central Area, Magnolia Village, Lake City, Georgetown, and Belltown. Existing BIAs have generated over $50 million over the last three years to fund clean and safe, marketing and promotion, and business retail and development programs across Seattle.

This year, Only in Seattle also granted $320,000 to 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:

Alley Improvements; $20,000: Pioneer Passage and Canton Alley will continue construction to transform into inviting, safe places to activate in Pioneer Square and Chinatown/International District.

Beacon Hill – “Welcome to Beacon Hill” signage; $10,000: The Seattle Department of Transportation will install “Welcome to Beacon Hill” signage throughout the neighborhood.

Capitol Hill – Improve Nightlife Pedestrian Safety on Pike/Pine; 40,000: Lighting and sidewalk enhancements identified in a safety audit will be implemented to improve nightlife safety along Pike and Pine Streets.

Central Area – Walkability and Lighting Study; $30,000: The Central Area Collaborative will conduct walking audits and study walkability and lighting to improve safety along east/west nodes in the business district.

Chinatown/International District – Hing Hay Park Improvements; $25,000: Chinatown/International District PDA will create a sign for the new, expanded Hing Hay Park and design a parklet in the business district.

First Hill – Holiday Tree Lighting and Park Events; $50,000: First Hill Improvement Association will install holiday lighting in the business district and create and promote events in public parks and open spaces in the neighborhood.

Lake City – Tactical Urbanism; $20,000: Lake City Future First will work with SDOT to develop “tactical urbanism” improvements on 28th Ave NE near the library and install stop signs at NE 127th Street and 28th Ave NE.

MLK/Othello – Electronic Kiosk; $15,000: An electronic kiosk will be installed in the business district to welcome customers and share upcoming community events and news.

University District – Tree Wells and Flower Baskets; $55,000: The University District Partnership will install permeable paving in more of its tree wells and hang flower baskets in the business district.

Westlake Park – Lighting Installation; $55,000: Downtown Seattle Association will install lighting on the gateway and fountain to enhance safety and encourage activity during evening hours.


The Office of Arts & Culture and the Department of Neighborhoods have been integral partners in the Only in Seattle initiative by bolstering the investments and service support. This year, five neighborhoods will receive support from the Office of Arts & Culture to consult on cultural placemaking activities in the business district. The districts are Central Area, Chinatown/International District, Magnolia Village, Mt. Baker, and Rainier Beach.

Through the partnership with the Department of Neighborhoods, neighborhood business districts are receiving support from Community Liaisons – bi-lingual, bi-cultural outreach specialists – to offer technical assistance and problem solving for businesses of color in their districts. Five neighborhoods will receive support to the tune of $28,000 and participate in a training cohort to develop tools and identify resources to build equity in their work plan.  The neighborhoods are: Central Area, Chinatown/International District/Little Saigon, MLK/Othello, Mt. Baker, and Rainier Beach.

“The Greenwood businesses and neighbors pulled together to rebuild after the unfortunate gas explosion last year. This additional investment from the City will help us continue to build upon our momentum,” said Lee Harper, Executive Director of the Phinney Neighborhood Association.