Seattle mayor plans to allow sip 'n stroll to bring people back downtown
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s recently debuted plan to revitalize downtown, and address drugs on the street, is a mix of public health and public safety policies.
Also included in this recovery plan, if approved, is a measure that would allow people to carry alcoholic drinks, in public, while gallery hopping during First Thursday Art Walk.
The goal of the mayor’s plan is to bring people back to the city's core, increase foot traffic, and create a vibrant downtown. The city will put in a request with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board for "Sip 'n Stroll" permits for First Thursday Art Walk events in Pioneer Square.
"As a small non-profit artist collaborative, we rely heavily on the support of our community, as well as donations and grants," said Shayley Timm, director of Gallery 110 in Pioneer Square. "I do think allowing alcohol again would help increase the amount of guests in attendance to the art waks."
Timm notes that the building where her gallery is located doesn't allow alcohol, so she's unclear how such an event would work in the end.
"However, I would ultimately see the change as positive and we'll take all the help we can get to bring folks to the art walk and increase the gallery's, and our artists', exposure."
Just down the block from Gallery 110 is Nirmal's, a fine dining Indian restaurant.
“If you see a lot of people walking by, you feel safe walking there, you feel safe coming there,” said Nirmal's co-owner Oliver Bangera, adding that having people out and about adds to the neighborhood energy.
Bangera also says that it will take more than arts and sports events to turn things around.
“I’m hoping we can get people back to work in their offices,” Bangera said. “Which, I don’t know if it will ever happen.”
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Bangera has another restaurant located in downtown Bellevue, where he says occupancy is also low. Anything that encourages people to come back to the neighborhood is always welcomed, he said.
Mayor Harrell's plan also calls for waiving street use permit fees to encourage more food trucks and pop-up food vendors to come to downtown Seattle.