what we do

'The Downtown Guides have been instrumental in the safety and success of my cafe."

-Shelby Haggard, Owner The Owl’s Nest  coffee & pastries

Advocacy

GOAL: Channel the voice of the downtown businesses and other stakeholders to compel action in both local and state government. 

The Alliance is taking on the following initiatives to accomplish this goal:

  • City of Olympia
    • Work to retain and grow support from the City in marketing, events, and placemaking endeavors.
    • Advocate for policy, projects, and services that support a clean, safe, and healthy downtown that are directly administered by the City and/or fund Alliance services and projects that accomplish this goal.
    • Support or oppose policies that impact the viability and prosperity of Alliance stakeholders.
  • State
    • Further State leadership to expand mental health and chemical dependency resources*.
    • Create emergency housing while we wait for permanent supportive housing

Clean, Safe, & Healthy

GOAL: Support a welcoming environment to ensure business success and a thriving downtown. 

The Alliance is taking on the following initiatives to accomplish this goal:

  • Downtown Guide Program-This program, through support from the downtown investors and the City of Olympia, has a mission of helping visitors, residents, and employees feel comfortable, welcome, and safe in our community.

    The scope of services includes:
    • Hospitality-Provide a warm greeting to Downtown patrons, sharing information and offering recommendations
    • ​Safety-Be vigilant and present a distinctive presence to help deter crime
    • Partnership-Call on both City of Olympia and social service resources to work together to address challenging behaviors Downtown
    • Crisis Outreach-Engage individuals suffering from houselessness, mental health crises, drug addiction in an effort to connect them with available resources in the community.
  • Downtown Maintenance Program-This program helps to support a clean and beautiful downtown.

           The scope of service includes:

    • Cleaning-Blowing, picking up litter, wiping down fixtures, and removing graffiti tags and stickers
    • Landscaping-Watering and maintaining plants, pulling weeds, and leaf and snow disposal
    • Pressure washing-The Alliance aims to pressure wash one sidewalk section downtown per week.
    • Downtown Cleanups-Twice a year, the Alliance invites community members downtown to help clean up downtown in advance of Arts Walk and engage in special projects, often placemaking interventions
  • Love Oly Painters-This program works to clean up graffiti tags and paint downtown buildings with the help of amazing volunteers!
  • Olympia Resources

Economic Development

GOAL: Develop programming and leverage community partnerships to support a vibrant downtown economy, including current and future businesses.

The Alliance is taking on the following initiatives to accomplish this goal:

  • Offer new businesses downtown a welcome packet, informing them of resources and tips to help them succeed downtown
  • Maintain an inventory of vacant spaces downtown, offering this resource to businesses interested in opening or expanding operations downtown
  • Plan entrepreneurial pop-up opportunities in vacant spaces downtown
  • Partner with other economic development partners in the region to leverage opportunities available to downtown businesses

Imagemaking

GOAL: Improve the community's perception of downtown through enhancements to the physical environment, production of quality events and experiences, and strategic communications and marketing.

The Alliance is taking on the following initiatives to accomplish this goal:

  • Events-In addition to an Annual Members Meeting and a Summer Member barbeque, the Alliance produces five signature events to draw our community downtown. Click here to learn more! (link to events page)
    • Love Oly Shop & Dine Week
    • Love Oly SummerFest
    • Love Oly Music in the Park
    • Halloween Trick-or-Treat Event
    • Love Oly Downtown for the Holidays and WinterFest
  • Marketing-Work to inform the community of all the great shopping, dining, and experiences they can find downtown through its social media channels, weekly newsletter, earned media, and advertising. The Alliance also produces the Downtown Visitor Guide, offering visitors a hard copy directory of downtown businesses, recreational opportunities, and a map.
  • Placemaking-Employ placemaking strategies to improve public and private spaces to inspire our community and support a more welcoming downtown.
    • Love Oly Microgrant Program-This program offers grants up to $500 per business to help fund small placemaking interventions such as new planters, a fresh coat of paint, or new signage. The program also offers the opportunity to use the funding for promotional events within businesses.
    • Lighting-Work to increase lighting levels downtown, targeting downtown street trees and alleys.
    • Holiday décor-Invest in décor and decorations downtown that help to lend to a festive and fun environment.

LoveOly Artist Spotlight

The Olympia Downtown Alliance is seeking submissions of existing artwork from local Olympia area artists, including Lacey and Tumwater, to participate in the "LoveOly Artist Spotlight" exhibition. This exhibition celebrates art that shares the joy and vibrancy of community in our downtown and seeks to further elevate the LoveOly brand as a connector of people and of spaces. Work will be displayed in vacant storefronts throughout downtown Olympia. Artists with existing work in various 2D media are encouraged to apply.

Rene Westbrook

Lily Walovich

Laurel Henn

 

Current exhibition on display at designated locations through February 2024, downtown Olympia.

 

call for artists

LoveOly Micro-Grant

  • June 21, 2024: Application Open
  • July 12, 2024: Application Closes
  • July 19, 2024: Selections made. Applicants notified.
  • August 2 – October 4, 2024: Project Implementation Period.

Apply here

 

Learn More >

The goal of the LoveOly Micro-Grant program is to provide opportunities for businesses to activate their spaces in a meaningful way that will positively affect the community. 

What is placemaking? Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. To strengthen the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process that can shape our public realm to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.

The program provides micro-grants to qualifying downtown businesses. Grants are defined in two categories. 

  • Physical space improvement includes façade refreshing and can include projects like cleaning awnings, installing/refreshing flower boxes, lighting, painting and *signage on windows or doors. 
  • Event space activation includes musical performances, DJs, temporary art installations, or other creative experiences within your space, **sidewalk or alleyway that are free invite the public in.

Applications will be vetted by Olympia Downtown Alliance Design and Promotions committees with staff assistance, utilizing the following criteria to evaluate each application.

Please note: Preference will be given to applications where activation meets more than one criterion. 

 

  • Cultural Community Support - How well does the activation provide a rich cultural experience? Does this project add to the attractiveness of the downtown? 
  • Impact on Activation Site - How impactful is the activation to the applicant and nearby businesses? Does this project enhance the site? 
  • Diversity of Activation - How well does the activation incorporate diversity and inclusion in activation and audience? Does this project attract more people to downtown? 
  • Investment Ratio- Does the applicant also plan to invest in the activation? 

Grant Award:

Eligible businesses will receive reimbursement up to $500. Funds will be awarded when documentation of project is complete or 30 days post event date. Businesses can apply once per seasonal opportunity. 

Eligibility:

To be eligible to receive a LoveOly micro-grant, applicants must agree to the following: 

  1. Operate a street-level business within the Downtown Olympia business core.
  2. Produce space activation(s) within the specified timeline for the grant cycle. 
  3. Submit either a project schematic or an in-depth description of the project/event concept. For physical space applications, please also include 1-2 photos of the project before improvement. 
  4. During the activation or post improvement: capture 3-5 photos and tag the Alliance on social media using Instagram (@downtownolympia) and Facebook (@Olympia Downtown Alliance) – OR - Businesses must email 1-3 high-quality photos to @info@downtownolympia.org and provide the Rights to Use for Olympia Downtown Alliance marketing efforts.

Please Note:

  • All are welcome to apply. The committee gives preference to applicants not previously awarded Placemaking Micro Grant (PMG) funds. 
  • Regular paid employee time is not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Businesses awarded a LoveOly micro grant must sit out the next cycle before applying for additional grant funds.

Schedule: 

WINTER

  • October 20- Applications Open
  • November 17- Applications Due
  • November 22 - Selections Made. Applicants notified.
  • December 15—February 15 Project Implementation

For more information, please contact Project Manager Desiree Freeland, dfreeland@downtownolympia.org or 360.507.8598

  • *Please refer to the City of Olympia Community Planning and Development department for detailed information about signage within the downtown. Community Planning and Development can be reached at 360.753.8317.
  • **Additional permits or licenses may be necessary. Please contact the city of Olympia for more information on how to apply. 

 

Learn More >

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