At the Pioneer Square/Chinatown-ID Preservation and Development Authority Town Hall meeting on Nov. 11.
At the Pioneer Square/Chinatown-ID Preservation and Development Authority Town Hall meeting on Nov. 11.

On Wed., Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, dozens of business owners, residents, and community advocates from Pioneer Square and the Chinatown/International District gathered for a town hall meeting at the Panama Hotel Cafe and Teahouse to discuss how they can collectively and in partnership, benefit from funds awarded by the state legislature to promote the economic vitality of the two historic Seattle neighborhoods. The organization that sprouted up to manage the grants and allocation of the funds (between $150,00-$300,000 over two years) is the Pioneer Square/International District Community Preservation and Development Authority. Attendees included Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos who advocated for the legislation, Michael Yee from the SCIDPDA, Andy Yip, Sen. Adam Kline, Rep. Eric Pettrigrew, and Shoreline Mayor Cindy Ryu. Speakers reresenting the organization expressed the unique characteristics and needs of each neighborhood, but a prevailing theme arose from many out-spoken attendees: Public safety. Speakers said that obvious answers to the problem such as more police partols aren’t the answer and not sustainable since the budget for such services is limited and ends when the funds run out. Michael Yee from the SCIDPDA noted that the PDA has begun a neighborhood watch public safety committee. Attendees suggested promoting the positive characteristics of the neighborhoods to pull more consumers into the districts; a vitality that could deflect the transients. Others argued the group and organization must keep the siutation and opportunity in perspective, claiming that $150,000 or $300,000 “is nothing in the larger scheme of things,” says Yee. “We gotta go beyond fighting for a pool of money here. We must work together and not allow for in-fighting or be petty over $150,000 or $300,000.” Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos suggested a way to increase city funds into the neighborhoods by proposing a ticket tax on all stadium passes for Qwest and Safeco Field, whose games and ticketholders impact both neighborhoods and could potentially raise approximately $3 million dollars annually. “We need to show that we can work together,” says Yee.

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