The Broadway Business Improvement Area is on track to have another successful year in Capitol Hill, with the expectation that it will raise more revenue through dues than in the past eight years, said Sierra Hansen.

Hansen is executive director for the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, which has managed the Broadway BIA since 2008. The BIA formed in 1986, and uses dues paid by Broadway businesses based on sales revenues to fund street cleanups, events in the business corridor and promote economic vitality.

The BIA conducted an audit in 2016 and again this year, which helped identify businesses that were still on its rolls that no longer exist and others that had not been added. This partially contributed to the increase in dues collected this year, which is estimated to hit $190,000 by the end of 2017.

Having Capitol Hill light rail now online and another successful Pride Fest were also factors, Hansen said.

The historic Pride festival was shrouded in drama this year when the original organizer attempted to change the timing, and then was denied a permit by the city over several other violations.

Seattle PrideFest executive director Egan Orion stepped in to take over the event eight days before it was scheduled. Several businesses on Broadway reported it was the most profitable Pride Fest ever, said Stacey Krynsky, BIA president and 1st Security Bank Capitol Hill branch manager.

“They were all flabbergasted that within eight days you were able to do all that,” she said.

Orion told BIA members at the annual meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17, that the 2018 Capitol Hill Pride Festival will be better, since there will be much more time to plan.

“We couldn’t think about budgeting or what strategy are e going to take this year,” he said of the last-minute planning in 2017, which added $23,000 to Seattle PrideFest’s budget.

The BIA chipped in $15,000 to support the event due to its economic impact on Broadway, and provided free booth space to businesses that wanted it, Hansen said.

It remains unclear whether businesses that had paid for space with the ousted Capitol Hill Pride Festival March & Rally organizers were ever reimbursed. Krynsky said one business owner told her director Charlette LeFevre was not reimbursing funds until she had sought damages from the city, which she believes violated the organization’s First Amendment rights.

Clean streets

About two-thirds of the dues collected by the Broadway BIA goes toward cleanup efforts seven days a week through a contract with Recology CleanScapes, Hansen said, and this year the focus became about deep cleaning a different block along Broadway each day.

The BIA began tracking drug needles (sharps) last year, and so far this year more than 400 have been removed from the Broadway corridor.

“Clearly, sharps are a huge issue,” Hansen said.

More than 1,300 bags of trash have also been collected, 670 graffiti tags removed and 850 sanitary issues addressed.

Hansen said more money was dedicated to Broadway cleanups in 2017 with the expectation that the a new contract with Recology would mean an increased cost. It was less than expected, she said, and so the BIA has been highlighting “hotspots” around the neighborhood for Recology to address.

The Witness owner Gregg Holcomb had brought up early in the meeting removing a blue awning at the corner of Broadway and East Harrison Street.

Hansen said the Multi-disciplinary Team that addresses homelessness in Capitol Hill and meets with the chamber monthly has warned such action could backfire.

“They said the minute you remove shelter like that, you immediately invite tent camping,” Hansen said, adding the right-of-way there is large enough for several tents and it is difficult for the city to remove homeless encampments.

On the topic of homelessness, Hansen addressed the introduction of an employee hours or head tax that is being proposed in Seattle to fund outreach and support for people living without shelter. The proposal is estimated to cost large companies about $100 per employee annually. Broadway businesses currently would not be affected.

“Let’s be frank,” Hansen said, “it’s going to start, and it’s not going to stop.”

Broadway for the holidays

After allocating $15,000 to keep the Capitol Hill Pride Festival going this year, Hansen said the BIA had an additional $10,000 in reserves left that it decided to use to light about 70 trees along Broadway for the holidays. That is expected to take place in mid-November, Hansen said, and remain there into March.

The BIA will also have another Shop the Hill promotion for the holidays, with Coca-Cola again sponsoring a push off Broadway and to businesses in the 15th and 19th avenues business corridors, Hansen said.

Hilloween is set for Saturday, Oct. 28, with an indoor circus at Seattle Central’s Mitchell Activity Center noon to 3 p.m. and trick-or-treating 3-6 p.m. on Broadway and in the Pike/Pine corridor.

This will also be the second year that bars participate in the Zombie Crawl, which was started last year for adults to get into the Halloween spirit. That takes place 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, with $5 food and drink specials for zombies at participating businesses. Find out more at caphilloween.com and caphillzombiecrawl.com.