Business Outreach Event Recap

Business Outreach Event Recap

The Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Planning group hosted a Business Outreach Event on April 17 at CSL Plasma (2126 N Monroe).

This post (and the video below) offers just a brief recap of some of the highlights; to download the full minutes, please click here.

There were 31 attendees in total. Among those speaking at the presentation were Craig Anderson, a Landscape Architect with AHBL; Inga Note, Senior Traffic Planning Engineer within the Streets Department; Jo Anne Wright, the liaison for the City of Spokane Planning Department; Candace Mumm, City Councilwoman for District 3; Jack Strong, with Strong Solutions and the past President of the Spokane Business Association; and Mark Camp, landlord of The Shop (among other businesses and buildings) in the South Perry district.

Some of the neighborhood businesses that were represented included: the Aiki Institute of Spokane, Waffles Plus, Ross’s Memories on Monroe, Azar’s Restaurant, Chairs Coffee, Tossed and Found; Zip’s and Petunia’s Marketplace.

After a brief introduction by Nicole Loncon, Assistant Manager at CSL Plasma, Jo Anne gave an overview of the neighborhood planning process and the relation between the city and the neighborhood committees since 2008.

Megan Kennedy, Vice Chair of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council, continued the overview of the planning process. On the basis of regular stakeholder meetings and two workshops with the residents, six priorities emerged. All of those points had N. Monroe in common, therefore this corridor was given its own section in the Neighborhood Plan. These priorities are:

  1. Pedestrian safety
  2. Neighborhood beautification
  3. Business diversity and occupancy
  4. Community resources
  5. Alternative and public transportation
  6. Connectivity and events

E.J. Iannelli, Chair of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council, introduced the possibility of different funding sources, such as the STA, the West Quadrant Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, and Community Development funds. Ideally, a revitalization effort would be able to draw from those pots, in addition to any funding from projects which the City of Spokane might have.

Candace Mumm explained the Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Board (CTAB) money, which funds street improvements, sidewalk improvements, and pedestrian improvements. The CTAB board is the Spokane City Council; the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) committee advises the City Council board, who then makes the final decision on where to focus those funds. She mentioned that having a revitalized business association would strongly contribute towards qualifying as a targeted-area investment.

Inga Note addressed the possibility of converting N. Monroe from a five-lane street into a three-lane alternative. She had previously been with Spokane Valley for eight years, and has experience with performing a “road diet.” Along with the increased space for each lane, more space would be available for street parking, swales, and sidewalks.

Jack Strong continued the three-lane topic by giving an explanation of a similar change to East Sprague and the clear benefits. Mark Kent then spoke about the process that he has been involved with since 1999, to establish a neighborhood business network and go through the procedures for revitalizing his neighborhood.

Craig Anderson walked through the results of the business survey which represented the opinions of business owners on Monroe north of Indiana and south of the Garland District. In general, pedestrian safety was a top priority. Two-thirds of the businesses surveyed expressed an interest in involvement with a business association or being involved in other neighborhood development processes that may affect their business.

Jack explained the importance of setting up a Business Improvement District (BID), and agreeing on a small tax for having a third party take responsibility for the upkeep of the landscaping, rather than relying on every individual business to maintain their allocated section. He also invited the business owners to observe the activities of their Neighborhood Business Center (NBC), which meets at the Kendall Yards Community Room on the first Thursday of every month at 7:30am.

The invitees asked questions on topics such as angled parking and bus stops, which were discussed in further detail.

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