Central District business owners impacted by the ongoing road work are finally seeing their payday from the city.
And KIRO Radio’s Ron Upshaw says it’s about time.
“I think this should be part of the cost of doing business,” Upshaw says.
Seattle officials have started handing out $25,000 mitigation checks to small businesses on 23rd Avenue to help the mom-and-pop shops cope with the multi-year long project to repave, restructure, and improve the street, according to The Seattle Times.
The money comes from a $650,000 fund Seattle Mayor Ed Murray created in February. Since state law prohibits cities from giving money to businesses, Seattle carved the fund out of federal dollars. Fill-in co-host Tom Tangney called it a clever, albeit slightly shady move.
“I actually think it’s a clear finesse job on the mayor’s part, and bully for him for actually pulling this off,” Tangney said. “But I do think there’s something suspicious about his claim that it can’t be done, but then when the social justice issue was thrown in his face … he’s very responsive to the social justice claims.”
Upshaw says when projects are mismanaged in this way, that it’s an “unreasonable” burden on businesses.
“People put their life-savings and their entire efforts into something, and if you have a great storefront and all of the sudden it’s just torn up and you have no control over that, you could have chosen another location,” he said. “It seems reasonable to me that part of the cost of a project like this, or even when a contractor builds a huge building, should be to support the other businesses in the neighborhood. You’re impacting them in a negative way.”
Tangney says he won’t complain about the mitigation funding, but knows others probably will.
“We do the mitigation, that’s fine with me because it just means higher taxes for the rest of us,” he said. “You know how much we love higher taxes.”