A Message from Interim Executive Director Mark Crawford
Our fiscal year ended on June 30th and I want to report back to you, the people who live, work and play in the U District about what we accomplished and what we see happening in our shared community.
First and foremost, I want to say thank you.
Thank you to the ratepayers who provide the majority of the funds we use to make this neighborhood cleaner, safer, more activated, more economically vital and with a public realm that reflects and speaks to our community. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. Your support of our community is the very mortar that ties all of this work together.
I want to thank the many volunteers who give of their time, experience, wisdom, and experience to help us achieve our goals on behalf of the U District. I’d like to extend a special shout out to all of the individuals who serve on the Ratepayer Advisory Board and on the U District Partnership Board. Your participation and leadership requires so much of your time, energy and attention. Thank you for sharing all of that with all of us.
And thank you to all of the other volunteers who support our events and activities. Whether it is your work at Street Fair (Yay for 50 years of continuous StreetFair – the longest run in the nation!), Halloween on Roosevelt, Night Out, the monthly clean ups, serving on task forces or advisory committees or help given in any number of ways, we so appreciate your passion and support for this community. Thank you.
And finally, thank you to a terrific staff – Marcus, Chase, Evan, Jen, and Tyler for your incredible hard work, dedication, and creativity. What a year you made possible. Thank you.
We accomplished a lot this year and below, you will find a list of those accomplishments listed by program area. As you look at those accomplishments, I would like to offer an important piece of context. The U District is now IN a period of enormous change.
In 2017, large areas within the district were rezoned to allow greater building heights and corresponding density growth. Development has exploded with an emphasis on student and multi-family residential development occurring. Recently, commercial space development has also been announced. Our resident population and our business related population are seeing corresponding growth projections.
In 2021, the new light rail station will open. This will increase the number of people coming through and stopping in our community. It will spur additional transit oriented development, including further multi-family residential development. It will redefine our relative geographic proximity to downtown and to north Seattle and beyond. It will redefine transportation availability and services within the neighborhood.
And, as part of the larger Seattle and King County geographical footprints, we are experiencing the same positive and negative effects of a rapidly growing city and economy. What happens in the larger community happens here, in our neighborhood as well.
Whether each of us individually likes or dislikes some of the things that are happening in the U District, the reality is, our community is undergoing a radical transition that will continue for the foreseeable future. How do we maximize the opportunities that this transition creates while also protecting and maintaining the unique and treasured characteristics of this community?
The U District Partnership is committed to serving this community through direct services here in the district, through our efforts to be aware of and to inform all of you about major issues and/or public and private projects that affect our public realm, to convene our community when your voices need to be heard, and by serving as advocates for our community when the need arises.
So, please, take a moment and review our 2018-19 work outcomes. We are proud of the U District, of our incredible businesses and merchants, the wonderful people who live and work here, the opportunities that exist for art, culture, and entertainment. We are proud of our world famous University of Washington with its outstanding student population, faculty and staff. We are proud of the diversity and strength of our community. We are proud of our legacies and we are excited for our future. So, thank you U District for all that you are and all that you do.
The U District is a cleaner, safer and more vibrant neighborhood because of the work funded by the UD BIA. Our work in keeping our neighborhood clean and safe, both through the Special Cleaning Areas and our work district wide, our investments in flowers, lights, on-going teams removing graffiti and picking up trash and bio hazards throughout the district, our constant efforts to get appropriate City cleaning resources in “hot spots” for both cleanliness and safety, and our deployment of Ambassadors (to name some of our on-going programs) have all contributed to a better district. Yes, there are still problems and messes. There always will be. But the BIA investment has kept us ahead of many other neighborhoods and well ahead of what we would be experiencing without that work.
We also added the pilot program for the REACH worker – a huge, courageous step by the BIA and UDP to lead in addressing an enormous social challenge that our public officials have not yet addressed.
We hired Economic Development staff and re-established the Economic Development Program Advisory Committee. We launched the Business Network, the Business Block watch and through the work of the Committee, have articulated a vision for a robust, diverse, district wide economic ecology. We produced a major study on current and future retail opportunities in the district as the district is shaped by the change elements described above.
We reconfigured the scope of the previous “Urban Design Committee” and relaunched it with a broader mandate to ensure that the concerns and needs of the U District were represented to all parties impacting the greater public realm. We have engaged with developers and city agencies in constructive dialogue and provided a voice of the community in both private and public development and infrastructure improvement. We partnered with U District Let’s Go to provide low cost transportation education to businesses, create a wayfinding cart, and support community dialogue about transit issues with our Transit Talk series.
We partnered with other BIAs to raise awareness and demand action from City officials to address the extraordinary impact of recidivist criminals are having on our neighborhoods. We also partnered with other BIAs to share information about Clean and Safe Programs and Events and Marketing Programs.
We created activities and events throughout the district throughout the year. We piloted a new Halloween event in the Roosevelt corridor to bring greater awareness of local businesses to the residents who live in the area. We maintained our current events like Up Your Ave, Night Out, Park(ing) Day and Holiday Swag. We sponsored music activations all around the district.
All in all, 2018-19 was an action and service packed year. As you know, we were severely impacted (and still are) by a fire on January 19, 2019 which gutted our office space. Even though we lost all physical resources associated with an office and we lost access to data and files for a period of time, we maintained all service commitments we made to our community.
2018-19 Program Manager Work Plan Report
CLEAN AND SAFE
1. Clean and Safe Committee Meetings – Completed. Had multiple guest speakers including the City masonry reinforcement expert, LEAD representative, consistent police presence and reporting and consistent community attendance and support.
2. North and South Cleaning Areas – Completed with $33,120 reduction in cost and added branding to cleaning services. Succeeded in replacing Recology with a vendor who agreed to co-brand so ratepayers and businesses know that the service is provided with assessment resources.
From July ’18- May ’19 in our cleaning areas we:
o Picked up 4,114 bags of trash
o Removed 1,760 stickers and graffiti tags
o Cleaned up 673 biohazardous messes
a. South Area (South of 52nd)
i. 7-days a week, 362-days a year
b. North Area (North of 52nd)
i. 2-days a week, 104-days a year
c. Monthly BIA Walks
i. 12 BIA Walks a year - Completed
3. Beautification Team
a. Two part-time team members - Have had one consistent team member. The second position has been vacated twice. Currently trying to fill second position.
4. Volunteer Community Cleanups – we have noticed the cumulative impact of our monthly clean ups – amounts of trash being cleaned up is decreasing as we are maintaining a cleaner district.
a. 11 monthly cleanups planned and coordinated - Completed
b. 1 Annual Cleanup - Completed
c. UW Facilities Cleanup – Did not happen this year due to turnover and change of leadership within UW Facilities. They are interested in doing a cleanup in fall of 2019.
5. Seasonal Cleaning
a. Fall leaf street sweeping – Completed.
b. Spring sidewalk pressure washing – 80-100 hours will be completed this fiscal year.
1. Clean and Safe Committee Meetings – Completed – see above.
2. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Reviews – 15 reviews completed, most of these reviews were of multi-family properties
3. Ambassador Program – We moved from a “pilot” program to a fully funded on-going program. Ambassadors cover the entire district with a regular route and check in stations but are always responsive to immediate calls anywhere in the district.
From July-May our Ambassadors:
o Stopped into businesses 1,786 times
o Checked on hotspots 2,511 times
o Engaged with our homeless population 143 times
1. Homeless Youth Employment
a. Sponsoring youth internships with Sanctuary Art Center – Completed
2. Beautification Projects
a. 75 Spring/Summer Baskets - Completed
b. 75 Fall/Winter Baskets - Completed
c. 68 trees lit for the holidays – Completed
3. 2019 Launch of REACH program – pilot launch of assertive mental health outreach worker in the district providing access and referrals to services for individuals experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges.
From mid-March to May, our outreach worker David Delgado
o Helped with transportation for where they wanted to go outside the U District 14 times
o Helped 7 people get into shelter
o Helped get 2 people into a drug treatment program
o Helped get 3 people the medical attention they need
o Helped people get food or clothing 27 times
1. Rebuild data collection function.
o Completed the Retail Saturation Study which includes a 2018-2018 U District Retail Market Outlook (udistrictpartnership.org/biz-retail). The study also included an update of the local demographic data (udistrictpartnership.org/demographics).
o Began development of a database of all business and commercial properties (and pertinent information) in the UDBIA.
o Identified potential KPIs to measure the economic health of the U District and the efforts of the economic development program. Currently tracking vacancy rate, net promoter score for business and property owners, and number of businesses in the UDBIA.
2. Initiate and support U District Business Network.
o Launched the U District Biz Network and hosted the Q1 Meeting in February 2019.
o Hosted the Q2 Meeting in May.
o Based on business network feedback, partnered with UDP Clean & Safe Program to launch the U District Business Block Watch.
3. Provide support and resource access to individual businesses.
o Established the Economic Development Committee to provide guidance on how to best serve the economic interests of local businesses.
o Coordinated a Fall 2018 campaign to update contact information for all business and property owners in the U District. Increased contact information rate from 17%-39%, which has since grown to 43%.
o Surveyed all businesses and property owners in the U District on 1) their baseline satisfaction and 2) which endeavors they want economic development staff to direct efforts.
o Created the online Business Resource Center (udistrictpartnership.org/biz-center).
4. Serve as a resource for potential business interest in the district.
o Created the online ‘Reasons to Open a Business in the U District’ (udistrictpartnership.org/biz-reasons) which includes the commonly requested information and tools for launching a business in the district.
o Created the ‘Retail and Office Space for Lease and Sale in the U District’ (udistrictpartnership.org/biz-vacancy) which includes a monthly updated list of all UDBIA commercial vacancies in addition to a tool for property owners to list their vacancies.
o Reached out to all commercial real estate agents brokers with active local listings and provided a copy of the Retail Saturation Study, links to the Business Resource Center and Space for Lease and Sale pages, and offer to provide support in filling UDBIA vacancies.
o Met with various developers on potential retail space options for future developments.
o Coordinated a low-cost pilot project to generate marketing collateral designed to educate potential businesses about the U District and begin them down the path on locating their business here.
5. Economic Development Committee
o Established the Economic Development Committee to provide guidance on how to best serve the economic interests of local businesses.
o Developed foundational statement of a district wide economic development vision focused on the business for business sector; business of providing and meeting the needs of the leased/rented residential population; and the retail/transactional/entertainment economy.
1. Staff and support a volunteer populated Urban Vitality Committee. This assumes any work of the committee is actually done by volunteers.
a. Urban Vitality Committee was relaunched. The committee is made up of board and other community members
b. The committee has created three task force groups including additional community members on the Mobility Plan, Church Redevelopment, and the 43rd Street Projects.
i. Mobility Plan – staff and board members participated in Mobility plan process. Task force reviewed final proposed document and presented analysis and recommendations to UDP Board for limited approval of some items and encouraged further community engagement o others
ii. Church Survey Group – has competed survey process and is currently engaging community stakeholders in discussions about potential next steps.
iii. 43rd Street Project -- Convened stakeholders and continues to support dialogue between property owners, businesses and SDOT on all phases of construction and post construction work.
c. The committee supported the outreach and adoption of the updated U District Design Guidelines.
d. Staff and committee leadership continues U District development tracking and engagement – meeting with developers on proposed projects, attending public presentation meetings and design review hearings.
2. Continued partnership with U District, Let’s Go!
a. Completed pilot project with onsite staff to provide technical assistance to local businesses on transportation affordability options.
b. Created a thorough co-branded transit map to help visitors find their way to and around our business district.
c. Supported and participated in 3 Transit Talk events in the District.
d. Provided 1,600 people with wayfinding help during the Special Olympics USA Games
e. Supported and housed U District, Let’s Go! Intern.
3. Began partnership with the Friends of Christie Park
a. Acted as fiscal sponsor and advisor on the creation of an artwork installation for the expanded and redesigned Christie Park.
EVENTS AND ACTIVATIONS
1. Up Your Ave – Fall student passport event to introduce to U District businesses
a. Over 800 Students Participated on September 31st.
b. 53 businesses officially participated. Sponsorship income increased to $14,000.
c. Partnered with Sound Transit to support 10 businesses impacted by station construction through space activation and both digital and physical marketing.
2. Celebrate Roosevelt – Celebration of our Roosevelt businesses and residents.
a. Collaborated with local businesses to create first ever Trick or Treat on Roosevelt on October 31st.
b. Estimated 60 children and their families participated. 14 businesses participated. Live family friendly music and a fire engine!
c. Broad support for continuation and expansion of the event in 2020.
3. Alley Lights – Winter art installations in the Allegro Alley.
a. Was not accomplished this year due to change in staff capacity
4. Event Support for other Departments – Assistance of other departments’ events with time, volunteer management, and equipment.
a.Supported annual cleanups, monthly cleanups, U District Night Out and various Urban Vitality related meetings and talks.
b. Held community wide information public meeting in April.
1. Popup and onetime events to activate the streetscape and contribute to neighborhood vibrancy. Ex) U District Night Out and outdoor musical performers
a. Produced YoU Find… Summer Music Series which provided over 90 total hours of live music from local musicians at 7 locations across the U District over 57 days.
b. Produced a co-branded mobile wayfinding cart with WSDOT funding through SDOT for use at pop ups and other engagements.
c. Revitalized all neighborhood kiosks with signage detailing UDBIA services, volunteer opportunities, major events, and wayfinding.
d. Transformed a parking spot to provide outdoor cafe seating and live music during Park(ing) Day in collaboration with U District, Let’s Go!.
e. Partnered with Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets and U Heights Center on annual Holiday Swag event.
1. Management of Events and Marketing Committee – Hosting and coordination of monthly meetings of an advisory committee on events and marketing for the U District.
a. Supported and informed short term “YoU Find..” marketing campaign which over only 69 days won 4,299,772 positive impressions about the U District and earned 10,665 clicks to our test website about the neighborhood detailing lodging, food and beverage, retail, and entertainment opportunities.
b. Advised on creation of better UDP and UDBIA marketing signage to increase community awareness of services and the source of their funding. Including
c. Updated kiosks with new wayfinding and marketing messaging.
d. Created UDP – BIA canopy and support materials to explain work of the BIA impacting the community while also using space to share local business and community highlights with visitors.
1. Attending Community Meetings – Identification of and attendance at important community meetings as a representative of the UDP and UDBIA.
a. Staff have increased attendance at various meetings around the community including annual celebrations and fundraisers to increase UDP/UDBIA presence including Rotary, Evergreen Treatment Centers, NAIOP, DSA, Farmers Market, Food Bank, and ROOTS.
5. Organizing Community Meetings – Gathering and hosting community discussions around important topics.
a. Public Meeting on BIA work in April.
b. Collaborated with other BIAs to host two city wide meetings on public safety and crime response.
Social Media Management
1. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Engagement - Increase of regular posts on multiple platforms sharing stories and data about the work of the UDP and UDBIA.
a. Staff has increased our posting to approximately 678 times across all platforms. We have increased our followership across all platforms by 14%
2. Information Nexus and Sharing – Utilization of social media to provide information about the U District to the community and important updates from local businesses, nonprofits, and community groups.
a. Staff has increased tracking and sharing of stories about and by local businesses, nonprofits, and community groups through strategic partnerships, information gathering and 3rd party calendar utilization.
b. Staff has also supported the management, growth, and promotion of the U District Art Walk with U Heights and local business partners.
3. Website Management – Maintenance of the UDP and UDBIA websites as landing pages for information about the organizations.
a. Redesigned the homepage for clearer communication of top stories, search functionality, and better mobile usability.
b. Secured 3rd party funding for and began the process of completely redeveloping the UDP, UDBIA, and U District, Let’s Go! pages to prioritize quick access to services.
1) Growing and Organizing Contacts – Gathering of additional contacts and organizing in useful groupings.
a. Extensive effort to gather business and ratepayer contacts through in person, web, mail, email, and phone engagements lead to significant increase in contact numbers and accuracy.
b. Began adoption of CMS and organization of contacts therein to better communicate with various individuals and business.
2) Monthly Newsletters – Monthly email newsletter highlighting the stories and data about the work of the UDP and UDBIA and including information about events in and resources for the community.
a. Sent 12 monthly newsletters and increased subscribers by 44%
b. Redesigned format for better mobile usability.
3) Weekly Updates – Weekly email featuring brief updates of recent UDP and UDBIA work and upcoming events in the U District.
a. Sent 51 weekly updates and increased subscribers by 61%
b. Moved to more professional format through the use of inbound marketing platform and increased overall content amount.
4) Issue Based Communications – Creation of specific email communications to self-identified groups in the community as the need arises. Ex) Event alerts and business opportunities and resources
a. Addressed through creation of departmental sections in newsletters and updates. Additional topical specificity increased through expanded business network, committee, and task force communication.
1) Visiting with Community Members in the Neighborhood – Regular outreach on the street and availability for one on one meetings with community members.
a. Most street outreach handled by Ambassadors and REACH program staff. Together they have made over 1,956 individual engagements.
b. One on one meeting availability underutilized by community members while partner organization meetings were requested and scheduled.
2) Responding to Community Questions and Concerns – Prompt response over all channels questions and requests from community members.
a. Prompt responses made to community members through phone, email, and social media channels. Slight delay occurred around the time of the fire.
b. New phone system installed to better guide callers to the appropriate services and staff members.