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Friday, June 24, 2016

Seattle Port Okays Economic Development Program

By Mark Edward Nero

During its June 14 meeting, the Port of Seattle Commission approved the creation of an economic development partnership program that is making about $962,000 available to 38 regional cities funding to advance local economic development.

The development fund is expected to help the port advance regional economic growth through focused partnerships, and will be made to cities to pursue programs and projects that stimulate business development, job creation and community revitalization. Each participating city may in turn contract with local nonprofits such as chambers of commerce and visitors’ bureaus to carry out specific initiatives.

The match grants, ranging from $5,000 to $65,000, are for eligible projects based on population and require cities to match 50 percent of the port’s money.

“The Port of Seattle Commission is committed to driving economic development across all communities in King County,” Port Commission President John Creighton said in a statement.
Annual grant funding would be provided on a $1 per capita formula with a maximum of $65,000 while ensuring each city receives at least $5,000.

“The Port of Seattle is looking to step up and fill a critical gap where other funding sources aren’t available,” Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman said in a statement. “This program can support such initiatives as business recruitment, small business development, tourism, property development, and industry retention and expansion.”

Three workshops are scheduled to help cities further understand the use of the funds, best practices and ways to maximize its uses.

The first workshop is scheduled for 2 to 4 pm June 28 at Port of Seattle Headquarters, Pier 69, 2711 Alaskan Way, Seattle. The second is set for 2 to 4 pm July 6 at Kent City Hall, 400 West Gowe St., Kent. The final workshop is scheduled for 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

July 13 in Bellevue, with a location still to be determined.

More information on the economic development program is available on the port’s website at http://www.portseattle.org/ABOUT/COMMISSION/MEETINGS/2016/2016_06_14_RM_6a.pdf