Earl Lancaster, owner of Earls Cuts and Styles, called the mayors offer of mitigation for the 23rd Avenue construction project a big, big, big, giant help.
Earl Lancaster, owner of Earl's Cuts and Styles, called the mayor's offer of mitigation for the 23rd Avenue construction project "a big, big, big, giant help." Kelly O

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The Seattle City Council is meeting right now to follow up on yesterday's news that Mayor Ed Murray will offer $650,000 in mitigation money to businesses along the Central District's 23rd Avenue. Business owners in that area say construction on 23rd has reduced the flow of customers to a trickle and some of them may be forced to close.

This morning, it's unclear whether businesses in the area will buy in to the mayor's plan.

Sara Mae Brereton, the owner of 701 Coffee at 23rd and Cherry who has led the recent organizing effort on this, told me she thinks the mayor's offer, which works out to about $20,000 to $30,000 per business, is "a Band-Aid for a hemorrhage that's been going on for eight months. It's not sufficient."

Brereton says the mayor's offer "needs to be at least doubled."

Meanwhile, Earl Lancaster, the owner of Earl's Cuts and Styles near 23rd and Union, told me the mayor's offer would be "a big, big, big, giant help."

"That's a start in the right direction," Lancaster said. "I would be one grateful man and so would other business owners up and down the corridor."

Both businesses have fewer than five employees and would qualify for the mitigation money if their income is less than 80 percent of the area median income (or about $66,000 for a family of four).

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There are still plenty of details to be worked out at the city council level, including specific qualifications businesses must meet to get the cash and just how—and how soon—that money will end up in the hands of business owners. (I'll update this post if we get answers to any of this today.)

Murray said yesterday he believes the $650,000 is a "reasonable" amount to help the businesses.

"We believe this fund is the right size to mitigate it," Murray said, adding that he wants to be "cautious" about offering mitigation for projects like this considering how many major infrastructure projects are happening all over the city right now. The city will also offer business owners in the area deferrals on their tax and utility bills.

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