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Mayor, Stuckart award grant funds

Wed., July 18, 2012

Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart have announced a list of seven Economic Development Innovation Fund grants, using a competitive-bid process to hand out about $63,500 to area groups.

The grant process modifies, but doesn’t replace, the city’s established practice of providing contributions to local organizations for economic development.

Condon and Stuckart used different sources of money for the grants and each chose recipients. Stuckart said his portion of this year’s grants is likely a one-time distribution, but Condon has said he would like to continue the system of competitive supplementary grants next year.

Condon used $37,900 set aside in the 2012 budget for economic development to establish the grant fund, and Stuckart used $25,500 originally meant for a legislative aide but not spent.

Condon announced the formation of the grant competition in February, saying the goal was to encourage area economic development through focused and sustainable projects.

Grants awarded by Condon

• $20,929 to Greater Spokane Incorporated to target aerospace companies and suppliers that would benefit from relocating or expanding to Spokane, including Washington state companies seeking space for increased production.

• $5,000 to LaunchPad Inland Northwest for a website and program to develop a network of experts, funding sources and support services for startups. The site will be called LaunchSpokane.

• $7,000 to Connect Northwest to create programs to assist area startup companies. Included will be support to sustain the recently launched “Startup Weekend” series that brings together startups with advisers and possible investors.

• $5,070 to the Spokane Public Market to install plumbing for vendor booths and to create 16 hand-washing stations. The action will help the market add another day each week and increase the number of vendor spaces.

Grants awarded by Stuckart

• $20,000 to Juliet Sinisterra of Sun People Dry Goods to conduct a feasibility study analyzing the potential of a Local Business Finance Authority, a form of Spokane-based stock exchange. One goal would be creating a funding system that would allow area investors to own shares in new companies and possibly create a revolving loan fund.

• $5,000 to the Northeast Community Center to help the Greater Hillyard Northeast Planning Alliance gain nonprofit status and move ahead with several economic initiatives in northeast Spokane. Among those is a plan to find support to develop 185 acres of light industrial land annexed by the city that has failed to attract investors.

• $500 to the University District Development Association to begin plans to find money for a parking facility in the University District.

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