Africatown has been awarded a major grant as part of more than $5 million in funding for equitable development in Seattle.
“Seattle is facing an affordability crisis, which has displaced far too many and left behind many of our neighborhoods and businesses,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said about the grants. “To tackle these challenges, our City is investing in community organizations who are leading the way in creating true economic vitality and opportunity within Seattle’s most underserved communities.”
Africatown will receive $1,075,000 for “capacity-building” and “development expenses to include affordable commercial space to the Midtown affordable housing project,” according to the City of Seattle announcement of the award.
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The Africatown Plaza project will neighbor the Lake Union Partners redevelopment of Midtown Center. Africatown and Capitol Hill Housing will develop a portion of the block with “120-135 affordable apartment homes, affordable to individuals with income as low as $26,880 – or 40% AMI” and about 3,000 square feet of retail. The developers say roughly 50% of the housing on the full-block will be affordable to people earning between 40-85% of area median income.
The Africatown-Capitol Hill Housing project will undergo a separate design review process expected to begin later this year. The Lake Union Partners project is slated for what could be its final design review later this month.
“We’re working to maintain fertile ground where a Black community that has been here for over 130 years can grow and thrive in place, K. Wyking Garrett, president of the land trust, said in an earlier announcement about the project.
The city’s Equitable Development Inititative fund is administered by the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) and “was created to respond to the needs of marginalized populations, reduce disparities, and support access to opportunity in healthy, vibrant communities.”
The EDI Fund was established with $16 million from the sale of the Civic Square property adjacent to City Hall. The fund also receives $430,000 in annual funding from the federal Community Development Block Grant.
I am all in favor of more low-income housing in the CD; it is desperately needed.
But the Central District community needs to thoroughly examine what kind of “black culture” they’re promoting at the Midtown Center. It has attracted shootings, men who do nothing but stand outside and harass passersby, and gang activity.
Interestingly, the men who congregate outside of the Somali and Ethiopian restaurants do not have this problem–they’re all courteous, quiet, and polite.
There is something egregiously toxic about the management of the Midtown Center. The rest of the neighborhood was looking forward to seeing its demise.
I have had very different experiences than you have at Midtown. It’s possible we go by at different times or I know different black guys hanging out.
Maybe the “toxicity” needs to be handled by both sides, meeting together and discussing these issues.