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Ahead of $100 million Investment in 2021 Budget for BIPOC Communities, Mayor Durkan Transmits Legislation to Transfer Fire Station 6 and Central Area Senior Center to Community

Displacement risk monitoring data will guide future community wealth building efforts

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan transmitted legislation to the Seattle City Council to establish a 99-year lease with Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT) for Fire Station 6 and to permanently transfer the Central Area Senior Center (CASC) to community ownership. Earlier this week, the City Council approved the transfer of ownership of the former Fire Station 23 to Byrd Barr Place, a Central Area community service organization that provides energy assistance, affordable housing, access to nutrition and financial counseling.   

“Building on the successful transfer of Byrd Barr Place, we are taking another step forward to transfer city properties to Black-led organizations that are playing an essential role in uplifting, supporting and advocating for the Black community. Our legislation will allow the Central Area Senior Center and Africatown Community Land Trust to provide resources in the Central District for decades to come. The community asked for a clear and consistent standard for transferring properties to our community organizations, which can be a model for years to come,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our City must make real on the promise of bold investments in the Black community and increasing community ownership of land. As part of my 2021 budget, I will invest $100 million into Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities to address the harm caused by centuries of systemic racism and make long overdue investments in education, housing, young people, and wealth building.”    

Fire Station 6 will be the future home of the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation, where ACLT will provide small business assistance, skills training and celebrate Black/African American culture and history in the Central Area. The project is one of five original Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) demonstration projects identified in 2016 intended to reduce displacement of Seattle’s communities of color. The City has committed $1 million from the EDI fund for tenant improvements to Fire Station 6. The long-term lease allows ACLT to take possession of the building and begin the remodel, while the established process for permanent transfer of the property ownership to ACLT continues.   

“This is a positive step towards realizing the vision for the William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation that so many community members have contributed to over the last eight years. We have a lot of work to do to address the income and wealth gaps and make sure our community can thrive in the future of Seattle,” said K. Wyking Garrett, President & CEO, Africatown Community Land Trust. “Creating pathways to the creative and innovation economy by cultivating and connecting the genius and entrepreneurial spirit in our community to resources and opportunity is key. We look forward to working with the city and many partners to remove systemic barriers and build the solutions we need for an equitable Seattle.”  

CASC has served Central Area seniors since 1972, when it was founded as a nonprofit volunteer-supported organization. In 1975, the City purchased a facility in the Central Area where CASC continues to provide health and wellness, counseling, transportation, and meal services. The Mayor is transmitting legislation to the City Council to transfer ownership of the property to CASC.   

“CASC represents 50 years of the Black experience in Seattle and the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equity in the service to seniors.  We salute the Mayor and her team for hearing and listening to our desire to own the facility and to continue in service to seniors and the community,” said Dian Ferguson, Director, Central Area Senior Center.     

This week, OPCD launched an Equitable Development monitoring program that includes a new  

Displacement Risk Indicators dashboard and Community Indicators of Equitable Development report. The City will be tracking areas where displacement risk for communities of color continues to rise, as well as monitoring housing affordability, economic opportunity, and other metrics. This ongoing program will provide data to City leaders and the public to help guide decisions to advance equitable development and mitigate displacement risk.  

To center the voices of community in future decision making, this month the City established a new permanent EDI Advisory Board to work with the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), Office of Economic DevelopmentOffice of Housing , Department of Neighborhoods, and other City departments to provide feedback on funding decisions aimed at combatting residential, cultural and economic displacement of BIPOC communities. In August, the City announced availability of the $5.8 million EDI fund, for organizations led by and serving people of color in high displacement risk neighborhoods. In addition to their efforts to combat displacement, projects will be evaluated for how they are supporting communities of color and small businesses to respond to the devastating economic dislocation caused by our current public health emergency. 

EDI currently partners with 25 organizations: