(KTSF by Sean Au)
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee launches the “Invest in Neighborhoods” initiative to bring together city and private resources to vitalize neighborhood commercial corridors by assisting small business to expand and hire more people.
In the Portola district, a small patch of open land is near the busy San Bruno Avenue is slated to undergo some landscaping work to make it into a parklet with seating. The City is also helping a successful coffee shop in Noe Valley to open a second shop in the empty store next to the space.
Resident and business owners nearby welcome the news. One resident says, “There is not a good park or anything here for the kids to play, so it would be a good idea for them to do that.”
“This is a good plan. Another space beautified will bring more activity to the area,” says a shop owner across the street.
City statistics show that since 2005, in spite of the recession, San Bruno Avenue’s vacancy rate has decreased from 7% to 4.8%. The annual sales tax brought in by the area has also increased by 8%, compared to 3% citywide.
Mayor Ed Lee is quick to point out that while the City is courting high tech companies to operate in San Francisco, his office has not forgotten about the small businesses.
“Maybe they are reading the papers everyday and they see that we are paying a lot of attention to downtown and South of Market interest, we are not abandonning (other areas) at all,” explains Lee. “We ae just going to be as investment friendly to our merchant corridors throughout all of the City.”
The $5 million revolving loan established by Mayor Lee has dispersed $800,00 to 27 proprietors for them to expand or revamp their businesses. The Mayor’s Offices says 75 jobs have been created and no one has defaulted on their loan so far.
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