The first checks totaling $150,000 have been delivered in the mitigation process to help Central District businesses around 23rd Ave survive months of construction to overhaul the street, the Seattle Times reports:
The owners of six businesses received $25,000 mitigation checks last week: Flowers Just 4 U, Magic Dragon, 701 Coffee, Earl’s Cuts and Styles, 99 Cent Plus and Midtown Coin Laundry, said Brian Surratt, Seattle Office of Economic Development director. Seven more businesses have completed intake forms and are planning to apply, Surratt said. Eight other owners have met with members of Surratt’s team, he said.
CHS reported in February on the $650,000 funding package assembled by the Mayor’s office and the Office of Economic Development to quell growing frustrations over the project to transform the street into a new configuration with a center left-turn lane and improve the pedestrian and sidewalk experience along 23rd Ave spanning Montlake, Capitol Hill, and the Central District.
The money was added to an earlier response involving marketing funding and better coordination with the city.
The $25,000 payouts are anything but a handout. CHS looked at the requirements on the stabilization program shaped by federal constraints that limited the types of business allowed to part of the financial mitigation. To be eligible, businesses must be located within a zone around 23rd Ave between E John and S King and 21st and 25th Ave, and must have been established before the start of the construction project. They also much be small businesses with five or fewer employees — including the owner. The federal grants behind a portion of the payouts added further limits requiring a majority of customers in a “service area where the total resident population is predominantly low and moderate income,” or owners with household incomes below 80% of the area median income. Finally, the business owner must show revenues have decreased since the start of construction.
We asked frequent critic of the Murray administration’s response — and recipient of one of the $25,000 stabilization fund checks — Sara Mae of 701 Coffee for her thoughts on the first wave of payouts:
@701Coffee What should we tell people about 701 finally getting a check from city?
— jseattle (@jseattle) April 7, 2016
Meanwhile, more construction work is being planned to join the 23rd Ave upgrades. SDOT is planning to electrify a missing two-mile chunk along 23rd Ave to power Metro’s trolley fleet.
You can find out if your business is eligible for the 23rd Ave Stabilization Fund here.