Excellence on Main Award

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Pandemic Economic Recovery Effort

Awardee: Olympia Downtown Alliance

Award: Economic Vitality

Year: 2022

City: Olympia

The Olympia Downtown Alliance and City of Olympia began working together in the early days of the pandemic. The partnership itself is noteworthy and marked a major step in strengthening the trust and shared goals between the City and the Alliance. The two groups worked together to craft a wide-ranging scope of work to support the downtown district–both the small businesses and the community at large, which relies on downtown as its gathering place. The City contracted with the Alliance to the tune of $625,000 to execute the multi-pronged approach, which included:

– Physical improvement grants to businesses to accommodate COVID-related activities

– Support for a business recruitment and retention strategy and a Creative Districts strategic plan formation

– Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design lighting projects

– Noteworthy placemaking initiatives, including a “Celebrating our Diverse Leaders” banner project in which 20 diverse leaders past and present were celebrated throughout downtown

– Marketing campaigns, including the “Why I Go Downtown” visitor guide that highlighted downtown’s unique businesses

– And a new outdoor street festival called “Love Oly Summer Fest” that attracted thousands of downtown customers in a safe outdoor environment

This suite of services helped struggling businesses pivot to new models, improved safety in the district, and created an environment where the Olympia community felt safe coming together.