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“The proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it”
Barry Commoner

The Story Behind Of Our Movement

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About Us

We are a team dedicated to providing funding, training, guidance, building/construction capacity, and more to make the Central Area self-sustainable.
Economic Empowerment

Economic Empowerment

We help micro and small businesses get the funding they need to thrive.

Guidance

Guidance

From communication to leadership development, we equip you with the skills needed to be successful.

Culture

Culture

Our team focuses on preserving the rich heritage and culture of Seattle’s Central Area Community.

Our Mission

Creating and sustaining a framework for commercial vitality, leadership development, and cultural legacy preservation inspires and attracts investments in high-quality strategies and tools. We use these investments to create wealth for the historical, present, and future residents and reflect the brilliance of a culturally diverse and vibrant community.
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Young Volunteer

Business plan

Our Story

In April 2015, the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) launched a commercial revitalization planning process in Seattle’s Central Area as part of the Only in Seattle initiative. This plan was in direct response to the request of business owners and community members for greater investment in the economic vitality of this historic community. OED hired Nyawela Consulting, a Seattle-based communications firm, to facilitate a community engagement process and write the Central Area Commercial Revitalization Plan. More than 180 individuals and representatives from fifty organizations participated in twenty meetings over six months. OED and Nyawela Consulting worked in partnership to develop relationships and create the environments and processes that would ultimately inspire, inform, and create the Central Area Commercial Revitalization Plan.
The goals, strategies, and measures found in the Central Area Commercial Revitalization Plan support the guiding vision for the neighborhood, as described in the 23rd Avenue Action Plan created in 2013. The City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development led a community-centered process to develop the 23rd Avenue Action Plan—an update to the 1998 Central Area Neighborhood Plan that focused specifically on the 23rd Avenue corridor.
All participants involved in the engagement process were eager to attract investments and implement the five goals identified in the Commercial Revitalization Plan. A handful of leaders from various organizations in the community stepped up to form the Central Area Collaborative—a collection of local business community leaders that have agreed to work together and align their efforts and resources to achieve a great business community.
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The Engagement Process

Central Area Collaborative aimed to create a system that fostered the holistic development of the community. We wanted everyone to feel heard. So, we developed a process to engage our community’s leaders, residents, businesses, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and clergy and guide them towards a better future.

The process involved six rounds of engagement and discussion

First Round

OED engaged six segmented groups to create personal and community timelines that communicated their personal and professional commitment to an investment in the Central Area. As a result of this round, the community bonded and started communicating effectively.

Second Round

Round two focused on identifying the individual and collective needs and wants of the community. During this time, we focused on identifying overlapping needs and wants and began to consider operational structures for the collaboration. We also brought in the Cultural District partners to ensure people were aware and informed of our initiative.

Third Round

Round three meetings focused on leadership. We met with individuals and organizations interested in leading this work or hosting it until it became self-sustainable. We discussed two key questions:
After these discussions, we emphasized that OED is still looking for direction from the community to decide how to organize. The community leaders’ ongoing roles would be to provide space and facilitation to ensure the collaboration was developed and supported in its early formation.

Fourth Round

Round four consisted of a meeting with all groups. During this meeting, we developed a community timeline and outlined a plan that led to goals and strategies. We asked unlikely and often unfamiliar collaborative participants to work as partners for this process. We then conducted a group review to ensure transparency.

Fifth Round

We reviewed the goals and strategies and organized them into a more traditional document. The community articulated the entire document to approve its language for goals and strategies.

Sixth Round

Round six meetings were a series of goal-based meetings. We hosted one meeting for each goal and invited anyone interested to attend. During each meeting, we asked participants to analyze and edit the goal, along with its respective strategies and measures. The facilitated process led to a natural prioritization that was assessed as being both accurate and effortless.

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Our Volunteer

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Ava Anderson

Volunteer

Richard Aigner

Volunteer Coor.

Ava Anderson

Volunteer

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