Program Description

Application Overview
Investment Tiers
Contracting Process
Program Requirements
Helpful Tips to Start and Complete the Application
Helpful Tips for Understanding the System
Program Contacts

Please submit all final applications through the online platform. Paper copies will not be accepted.

*To begin the application, please create a new user account by clicking the "Login" button to the left and then clicking on "Click Here to create a new profile." Choose the profile type, “organization” in the account creation page.

Application Overview

The Only in Seattle Initiative empowers neighborhood business districts to organize around a common vision and attract investment.

The Only in Seattle Initiative is a partnership between OED, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON), and the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture (OAC). Approximately $1,400,000 is available (contingent upon federal and City funding allocations) for district grants and services that accomplish goals in the five strategy areas:

1. Organization - Neighborhood organizations, residents, property owners and business owners collaborate and work together toward a common vision for the business district.

2. Marketing & Promotion - District has a positive, consistent image that helps draw more customers to visit.

3. Business and Retail Development - Businesses prosper because they are organized, supported by the community and they receive the assistance they need to strengthen and grow their business. New businesses move into the district that complement and improve the business mix.

4. Appearance & Pedestrian Environment - The retail and pedestrian environment is attractive, inviting and easily accessible by multiple modes of transportation. Real estate projects that rehabilitate or replace vacant or underutilized spaces generate a sense of forward momentum and improvement in the district.

5. Clean & Safe – The district is clean and customers, employees and visitors feel safe and welcome.

Investment Tiers

This initiative provides seed funding and support that can help a business district move ahead of its current state to a new level of organization and operations. Participating districts develop a strategic vision of where they want to be, an action plan to achieve that vision and clear outcomes that are intended from the work. Districts can apply for any of the following tiers for which they qualify. However, priority for Tiers II - VI is given to districts that have or are developing action plans.

Tier I: Action Plan Grants. These grants fall into three categories, based on the district's work:

Organizing – For districts working on organizing (or reorganizing) stakeholders in the district to develop a shared vision and create a new action plan. Grants are generally for consultants and/or staff to conduct outreach, facilitate planning meetings, develop a plan and complete early projects that build momentum.

Transforming - For districts with a new action plan beginning implementation. The grants are given to a lead agency that serves as the central hub for the vision and action plan and coordinates implementation and communication with and between all participating parties. Grants can cover staff, project costs, consulting, etc.

Established - For districts with an established action plan and ongoing implementation that have a key project that will help grow the district’s work. Grants can cover staff, project costs, consulting, etc.

Tier II: Business Improvement Areas Consultation

Tier II is intended for commercial districts that are seeking assistance in forming a Business Improvement Area (BIA), modifying an existing BIA’s boundaries or rate payment structure, or exploring the feasibility of a BIA. Districts receive consulting services to guide them through the steps from feasibility analysis to the legislative process.

Tier III: Racial Equity in Business Districts

OED and the Department of Neighborhoods are partnering to offer "Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons" (POELs) to business districts in need of better outreach to under-represented businesses and businesses of color in their districts. The program hires liaisons who share language, culture, ethnicity, or other demographics with local business owners to provide a bridge of communication and understanding between the businesses and the local organization. These liaisons can do outreach, conduct surveys, help facilitate focus groups, etc. in close partnership with the local organization.

Tier IV: Mobile Business Consulting

Mobile Business Consulting brings OED's business consulting, financing and problem solving services directly to neighborhood businesses. OED will work with the business district organization to conduct outreach to businesses and schedule individual appointments with the consultants. Based on identified interests and needs of the businesses, OED will bring the right technical assistance partners to the meeting and small businesses can connect with several providers at the same time and location.

Tier V: Consultation to Enhance Arts & Culture

OED and the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS) are offering technical assistance to business districts interested in strengthening their connection to arts and culture in their district. The goal of this partnership is to infuse art and culture into more projects in business districts throughout the city. OED and ARTS will bring business district leaders and artists/arts organizations/cultural organizations together to explore possibilities for collaboration and learn about resources that could support their ideas. This small step has led several neighborhoods to access new funding sources, integrate arts and culture into events and develop partnerships that extend their capacity.

Tier VI: City Infrastructure/Public Space Improvements

OED has available a pool of $370,000 for capital improvement projects that enhance business districts. Eligible neighborhood business districts include those that have: paid on-street parking; a majority of low-moderate income residents; and/or significant impacts from construction. Tier VI projects include design, cost estimating and construction of infrastructure and amenities in parks and in the public right of way. Projects are often completed directly by the Seattle Department of Transportation but can also result in a grant to the business district to hire consultants and contractors.

Application Timeline

• October 3, 2016: Request for Applications and program description released.

• October 31, 2016: 11:59 pm: Application deadline

• November 14, 15, 16, 2016: Presentations to Only in Seattle Review Committee

• December 31, 2016: Notification of funding decision

Contracting Process

Grantees selected through this application process will receive a one-year investment commitment for 2017 with the potential for investment in upcoming years. Each year the investments are contingent upon the availability of funds for this program and the grantee’s satisfactory progress on activities during the previous year(s).

2017 contracts will be developed in January and fully executed by March 31st. Contracts can be back-dated to begin January 1st. The contract will include specific activities, milestones and a budget based on an action plan that is accepted by OED and the district.

Program Requirements

Target Area - Business districts need clearly defined geographic boundaries that will be the focus of the work.

Coordination – If multiple organizations are working together, there must be a clear plan for coordination, with one organization or individual identified as the lead for overseeing the implementation of the action plan.

Strong Stakeholder Participation – While the activities are overseen by a local lead organization or individual, no one agency can do everything. Public agencies, nonprofit organizations, area residents, businesses and property owners must share investments in and responsibility for strengthening their neighborhoods. Action plans must be developed with the input and involvement of key stakeholders and each component of the plan must identify the organizations, staff or volunteers identified to take responsibility for ensuring implementation.

Impact and Long Term Sustainability - The action plans should be focused on making an immediate impact in the district and developing infrastructure that will allow the work to be sustainable over time.

Investment - OED will make an investment of grant dollars, technical assistance, training resources and staff time in each participating business district. The grant funding can reimburse operating and direct costs incurred by the lead agencies and other agencies submitting joint proposals. This can include staff costs, supplies, marketing, etc. Funding can also be used for physical improvement projects such as business district beautification.

One Proposal Per Business District - Efforts in the district should be coordinated among community stakeholders. Therefore, we will only accept one application from each commercial district. Multiple applications from different agencies will not be accepted. The application can include funding for multiple agencies; the lead agency or individual will be responsible for coordinating the work of organizations involved.

Funding Requirements - A majority of funding for this program is federal – Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Business districts receiving federal funds will need to be located in primarily residential (as opposed to primarily industrial) areas with over 51% of low-moderate income residents served by the district. Business districts that do not meet this requirement can still be eligible to receive City General Funds.

Neighborhoods Qualifying for Federal Funds - Business districts within the following neighborhoods would potentially qualify for the federal funding: Central Area, Rainier Valley, Chinatown International District and Little Saigon, Capitol Hill, White Center, South Park, Pioneer Square, Delridge, University District and Lake City. Federal funding eligibility will need to be determined for each proposal.

Helpful Tips to Start and Complete the Application

- To start your application, please create a new user account. Please choose the profile type, "organization" when creating a new user account. You can share this log in with trusted individuals that will help create the application *see note on multiple users in the section below.

- Please read the instructions page before starting your application.

- The Frequently Asked Questions is a great resource as you complete the application. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the OIS team listed below.

- A single file upload is limited to 4mb and file types: PDF, doc, and xls. For multiple files, such as Letters of Support, compile these into one document and upload.

- Once you submit your application, it will no longer be available to edit.

- It is suggested to work on the application questions in a word processing application before entering data into the system. Please note that answers have character counts. See note on saving below.

Helpful Tips for Understanding the Go Grants System

- To adjust the font size, click the desired button below the “Log Out” button on the left hand side of your screen.

- A note on multiple users: The system was designed to allow more than one person to work on a grant application. For example, one individual can focus on a specific section of the application (e.g., the NARRATIVE) while another person focuses on another section (e.g., the BUDGET). It is very important for each user to save their work frequently. To avoid losing work, ensure that only one person is working in a given section at a time. Otherwise, the last person to save in a given section will overwrite anything that has been previously crafted. We recommend that multiple users communicate frequently with one another to ensure that data is not lost or overwritten.

- Avoid using the back button on your web browser. As much as possible, use the forward and back buttons within the system. Remember to save your work before moving on.

- Formatting: The system will not accept any formatting such as bold, italics, or underline. Please copy and paste only plain text into the application. * for more on how to paste from Microsoft Work, please visit the Tech Tips.

- Saving your online application: We suggest that you work in a word processing application before entering data into the online grant program. If you enter your narrative directly into the system you risk losing your work if your computer loses its connection to the Internet. Having saved this information in your own computer files offers security and easy access to the text should there be any unforeseen disruption in the connection. Another important reason to compose narratives in a word processing application first is to use the spell check feature, which is not available in this system.

- Do not use HTML formatting in your application.

- Make sure you have cookies enabled in your web browser to allow access to application content

Program Contacts

Theresa Barreras, Business Districts Manager

Heidi Hall, Business Districts Advocate

Mikel Davila, Business Districts Advocate