City neighborhood biz grants brings $128,000 boost for 12th Ave

The City of Seattle announced $1.1 million in grants this week to improve business districts around the city — including a check for Capitol Hill. Here’s a look at how the money will be deployed. Sorry, the neighborhood doesn’t pay dividends. This is about investment and marketing.

“Overall the grant means more resident and small business involvement in decision-making on 12th Avenue resulting in a more vibrant and equitable neighborhood,” Alex Brennan of Capitol Hill Housing tells CHS. CHH, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the relatively newly formed Capitol Hill Entrepreneurial Women group form the nucleus of the group tapped by the city to deploy the “Only in Seattle” business development funds.

While the money is utilized on programs taking place across the Hill, the group has focused the Only in Seattle effort on growing 12th Ave and events like the 12th Ave Festival — here’s a look at 2011 if you missed it. Brennan said in 2012, the group is also taking on a new challenge for the 12th Ave area as a connective zone between Capitol Hill and the Central District.

“This year we will also look more explicitly at issues of gentrification, the relationship between affordability on Capitol Hill and affordability in the Central Area, and the crucial role that the border between the neighborhoods – and 12th Avenue in particular – plays in those dynamics,” Brennan wrote.

The money earmarked in this year’s grants adds up to $128,000 to fund programs in the Capitol Hill area. That’s down slightly from 2011’s $145,000 allocation. In the scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money but it does help CHH work on community issues like supporting the 12th Ave Stewards and engage in planning around Yesler Terrace, the King County Youth Services Center, and the major institution master plans for Seattle University and Swedish Hospital-Cherry Hill.

Here’s a portion of the city’s announcement on the 2012 grants. You can read the full statement here.

The local business communities in these nine neighborhoods have developed comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing a total of $844,000 in 2012.

  • Capitol Hill / 12th Avenue                     $128,000
  • Central Area Main Streets                   $  72,000
  • Chinatown / International District        $185,000
  • Columbia City                                      $  66,500
  • MLK (Rainier Valley)                           $  83,000
  • Pioneer Square                                   $120,000
  • Rainier Beach                                     $  55,000
  • University District                                $  70,000
  • White Center                                       $  64,500

In addition, the city is investing $142,500 to support focused investments in additional neighborhoods, as well as the Only in Seattlemarketing campaign and business organization development.

  • Focused investments will be made in these neighborhoods: Beacon Hill, Belltown, Columbia City, Georgetown, Madison Valley, Rainier Beach, SODO, South Park, and White Center.                        

  • The city will expand the Only in Seattle marketing campaign, which highlights the hidden gems of shopping and dining in Seattle’s neighborhoods ( The following neighborhoods will join the Only in Seattle marketing effort: Fremont, Pioneer Square and Wallingford.

  • The city also will invest to build strong business-focused organizational capacity to sustain the efforts of neighborhood business districts. Support for Business Improvement Area (BIA) formation will occur in the following neighborhoods: Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill / 12th Avenue, Madison Valley, Pioneer Square, SODO, and West Seattle.

“The city is focused on helping business and property owners to strengthen local business climate and grow jobs,” said Steve Johnson, director of the Office of Economic Development. “Through the Only in Seattle Initiative we have created an investment framework and partnerships to execute strategies to support healthy business districts.”

In addition this year, the city is investing $100,000 in three neighborhoods for façade improvements: Columbia City, Central Area Main Streets, and Chinatown/International District.  This investment was matched with $142,764 in private dollars.  These improvements directly impact the continued revitalization of the neighborhood business districts and support ongoing business attraction and clean and safe strategies.

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