The City Council continued the discussion at Monday’s extended study session on options available to provide temporary year-round men’s shelter services at Lincoln Center. Congregations for the Homeless (CFH) indicated their desire to manage and privately fund necessary tenant improvements to support year-round operations.
During the discussion, councilmembers directed staff to continue to work with CFH as they work to raise funding for the upgrades. CFH has stated its commitment to work with community partners to raise an estimated $750,000 for the necessary improvements. If fundraising goals are met, it’s anticipated that construction could begin as early as June 1. Work is projected to last three to four months, with a targeted completion by November.
The council will receive a follow-up update in May with information on CFH’s fundraising efforts. If adequate funds have not been raised, the council will likely consider alternatives. Options include allowing more time for fundraising, assuming the project as a public work or maintaining current operations solely as a winter shelter.
Also during the briefing, councilmembers directed staff to continue work in securing a secondary “bridge” location for temporary overnight shelter. This site would be used while Lincoln Center undergoes construction.
Public engagement is planned to inform and get feedback from the community about the potential changes in shelter operations. This would include information on a secondary location if one is identified. CFH is expected to provide a communications plan that addresses operational and outreach commitments uniquely tailored to the homeless services provided at either Lincoln Center or any potential bridge location.
Economic Development Plan Update
The briefing began with news that Jesse Canedo has been promoted from acting chief economic development officer to the permanent role by Community Development Director Mac Cummins. Prior to Canedo’s six-month interim role, he served as Bellevue’s economic development program manager. Canedo assumed his new role last week.
Councilmembers heard a quarterly update on the progress of implementing the Economic Development Plan, adopted by the city in July 2014. Recent highlights include:
- Business recruitment: In the first quarter of 2019, 150 jobs were created in Bellevue – 75 percent of the annual target.
- Business retention and expansion: Staff continued to work with internal and external partners to support companies such as T-Mobile, Facebook, REI and other large employers, along with small businesses. This work supported the retention of 1,375 jobs citywide.
- Focus groups: Bellevue is piloting a series of business focus groups based around particular issues, industries or stakeholders. The focus group model will provide new opportunities for the city to get specific data to inform planning and service delivery. The first focus group gathered feedback from large downtown employers on transportation and corporate real estate.
- Small business and entrepreneurship:
- Startup 425 Foundations, an introductory workshop series for community members interested in starting a business, is underway again this spring. More than 200 registrants participated in the March workshops, including 75 in Bellevue.
- Bellevue partners with OneRedmond to fund a business advisor through the Washington Small Business Development Center. In March, Parteek Singh was hired as the new advisor and will provide free mentoring and advising services for existing businesses.
- Public-Private Partnerships: Bellevue applied for and was awarded an Economic Development Partnership grant from the Port of Seattle for $65,000. The 2019 grant will support marketing for the Arts Program’s Bellwether 2019 and the Innovation Triangle, a partnership for business recruitment with Redmond and Kirkland, and an activation program for the Grand Connection in partnership with the Bellevue Downtown Association.