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City of Seattle

September 21, 1:11 PM click here to comment > 4

Investing in downtown public safety through the Center City Initiative

We’ve written in the past about our Center City Initiative (CCI), a collaborative effort between the mayor, Councilmembers Rasmussen and Bagshaw, and downtown neighborhood stakeholders to help make downtown Seattle streets more safe, inviting and vibrant. Our CCI team, with representatives from City departments, other government organizations, social service agencies, neighbors, businesses and other stakeholders, have identified a number of priorities to work on and are moving forward on dozens of projects, small and large.

Today we are pleased to announce that our 2013-2014 Proposed Budget will support the priorities of the Center City Initiative, adding millions in resources dedicated to improving quality of life in our downtown neighborhoods. Here’s how.

Supporting people in need with a new Outreach and Engagement Team

We will fund a new Outreach and Engagement Team in the Seattle Police Department that will offer access to services and interventions for people in mental health crisis and other at-risk populations in downtown neighborhoods. This team will include a mental health professional funded by the Union Gospel Mission and the Metropolitan Improvement District.  SPD will receive $150,000 annually to provide officers for the Outreach and Engagement Team.  HSD will receive $133,000 in funding to hire formerly homeless individuals as peer-to-peer liaisons.  Working with the Outreach and Engagement Team, the liaisons will help identify and engage homeless people living in downtown streets on a personal level and connect them with specialized and targeted services.

Third Avenue corridor upgrades

We are investing $1 million in important capital upgrades to Third Avenue in downtown.  These improvements include a major sidewalk expansion and enhancement near Macy’s department store, upgrading all remaining pedestrian signals to countdown signals, and re-marking all faded crosswalks in the corridor.

Hiring new police officers

The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget includes funding to allow SPD to hire 10 additional police officers.  These additional positions will allow SPD to continue meeting or exceeding the outcome objectives defined in the Neighborhood Policing Plan (NPP), as well as relieve the pressure on overtime use resulting from the increased emphasis patrols that have been activated in 2012 in response to crime “hot spots” around the city.

Supporting our youth to protect public safety

Protecting public safety means more than just hiring more police officers. We have to offer programs and services that get our young people engaged in positive activities and off the streets. The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget expands hours at Yesler Community Center (and at six other community centers), and adds $1.68 million to expand the City’s successful Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) to serve 450 more at-risk youth.

Expanding support for homeless families

Providing support to the increasing number of homeless families remains a challenge.  The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget expands funding to assist homeless families with children through a national best practices service model that incorporates expanded outreach and engagement, coordinated entry and assessment, family reconciliation, diversion and progressive engagement models to rapidly move families from homelessness to housing.  The collection of services provided in the 2013-2014 Proposed Budget increases the City’s funding commitment to these services by $620,000.

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Posted by: April Thomas

Comments

Comment from Patty Fong
Time September 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

Mr. Mayor with all due respect, I don’t think this goes far enough to improve THIRD AVENUE. THIRD AVENUE should not be a “transit corridor”; that’s one of the problems with THIRD AVENUE. THIRD AVENUE should be more than just a focus for police and social workers though I agree that public safety and social service needs are important anywhere. THIRD AVENUE lacks a downtown core of permanent residents who would attract amenities and services. I cannot believe that the City does not have the resources and wherewithal to bring together its immense resources and private enterprise to make this happen. We need a longer-term vision than this, a vision that includes livability and commerce. THIRD AVENUE suffers from DINGINESS, DEPRESSION and DESERTION. It only moves during the week when office workers come to work and sandwich shops are open. THIRD AVENUE could be so much more were your office to put more energy and creativity into making this happen. Visit Vancouver BC for an idea of how a downtown core fairy bursts with energy and vitality and people 24 hours a day in the best sense of the word. You can do better and I urge you to.

Comment from Margaret Edgar
Time September 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

Mr. Mayor, I applaud your proposed 2013 budget and particularly the City Center Initiative and upgrades to Third Avenue. The focus for funding of prevention measures – increased access to youth programs; peer-to-peer liaisons; and sidewalk expansion – acknowledges downtown workers and shopper’s concerns about personal safety while also recognizing that those who are young and/or homeless are also Seattle residents. Thank you.

Comment from Advocate
Time September 28, 2012 at 2:56 am

“Third Avenue corridor upgrades

We are investing $1 million in important capital upgrades to Third Avenue in downtown. These improvements include a major sidewalk expansion and enhancement near Macy’s department store, upgrading all remaining pedestrian signals to countdown signals, and re-marking all faded crosswalks in the corridor.”

So a million bucks to spiff up 3rd Ave with non-priority things (who does a wider sidewalk at Macy’s serve? changing out functioning ped x-ing signals?), while helping the most needy (and getting disturbed–and disturbing–individuals off the streets) gets one quarter of that?!

Yes, repaint the crosswalks on 3rd. Then fix the horrible potholes and uneven areas that make crosswalks and sidewalks all over Pioneer Square dangerous and the cobblestones in and around Pike Market dangerous, etc.

How about employing homeless and ex-homeless in these and other efforts?!

Pingback from What is the City Center Initiative? – MyBelltown.com | MyBelltown.com
Time November 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm

[…] with the community to address these challenges. On many items we are acting immediately. We have added funds to the city budget for cleaning, infrastructure improvements, and enhanced social services. Our police are employing […]