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City Council approves contracts with CCD, UW to revitalize downtown

ARLINGTON As the Arlington City Council approved contracts with Community Capital Development and the University of Washington Jan. 16, city of Arlington Capital Projects Manager Paul Ellis explained how downtown retail and property owners could take advantage of the two unique business assistance programs that these contracts will be providing during the construction period.
Ellis prefaced his remarks by emphasizing that construction is moving forward, on schedule for the most part, although he acknowledged that plans for Phase Two of the North Olympic Avenue Reconstruction Project will be reviewed by city staff, including the citys new engineer and utilities manager, just to make sure were all on the same page.
From there, he anticipated that groundbreaking for the construction would take place later in March, weather permitting.
Moving to the contracts themselves, Ellis elaborated that the UW intern design and technical assistance team would include five graduate students, who have been researching several different eras of downtown Arlingtons history, to develop suggested guidelines for colors and architectural styles that would match how the structures were originally meant to look. Ellis believes that these notebooks of ideas for the storefronts appearances could make renovations more convenient, especially since he hopes that the templates devised by the UW team can be pre-approved by the City Councils Planning Commission, thereby streamlining the required permitting process.
At the same time, Ellis informed the streets merchants and residents that Community Capital Development, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that provides financial support to local businesses, is scheduling a series of workshops that will cover subjects such as business organization, analysis and promotion, in addition to making an estimated total of $100,000 in grants and loans available, to cover the commerce they might lose during the construction period.
Ellis clarified that CCD loans often start at $5,000, as opposed to the loans available from the Small Business Administration, which he described as starting at $250,000. However, he reiterated that if youre looking to do much more than a coat of paint, youll need to talk with a local professional architect for renovations, since the UW team cant put themselves in competition with such businesses.

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