By Danielle Anthony-Goodwin
Yesterday, the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) awarded Ballard a grant to create a commercial revitalization plan for the local area. The grant was given via Ballard Chamber of Commerce and is awarded through the “Only in Seattle” initiative.
The OED believes that the key to neighborhood development lies in supporting and growing successful small businesses. The initiative is a partnership between OED, Impact Capital and neighborhood business districts. Grants are given to allow communities to implement proven methodologies to create and maintain successful business districts. The OED states on their website that “businesses are most successful when they are located in neighborhoods with an active street life and healthy sense of community.”
Ballard is a successful business district in its own right and the grant will allow the Ballard Chamber of Commerce to assemble a group of community stakeholders to plan for a successful future. “Ballard is a great place to live, work, shop and play. As a result, we are bursting at the seams” says Scott Ingham, Co-President of the Ballard Chamber Board of Directors. Ingham believes that the grant will allow Ballard Chamber, in consultation with the appointed community stakeholders, a chance “to create a unified vision for commercial revitalization that makes sense for Ballard today and in the future.”
As part of the initiative a leadership group, comprised of strong community stakeholders in Ballard, has been formed to build long-term partnerships and guide the overall progress of the initiative. The group comprises of representatives from various sectors in our community including maritime/industrial, restaurant/nightlife, merchant/retail, major employers, health care, social services, resident associations, and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce. “Given the explosive growth we are experiencing in Ballard, now is an important time to plan for our future,” said James Lechner, Manager of Bastille Café and Bar and member of the leadership group.
The initiative goal for this year is to produce a framework of how to support business growth in the area. In 2013 the project will also address the issues of urban design, transportation, marketing and promotions to ensure that Ballard is a clean, healthy and safe environment for all.
Ballard Chamber of Commerce will coordinate the project in consultation with an urban planning organization and the OED. The Seattle Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development and the Department of Neighborhoods will also be involved in the project.