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The City of Sequim has received a Municipal Excellence Award from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) for its Small Business Rapid Relief Grant Program in support of the local business community impacts of COVID-19. The awards were given to five cities, out of 22 applications, for putting creative ideas to use for their communities.
“This year’s winning projects demonstrate just a few of the ways that Washington’s city leaders are finding innovative solutions to a diverse range of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and racial equity movement,” said Peter B. King, AWC CEO. “Each year, AWC’s Municipal Excellence Awards provide ideas and inspiration to communities around the state, showcasing successes that can be replicated in other cities.”
Sequim’s retail and hospitality industries are critical to the local economy. When COVID-19 struck and small businesses began closing their doors, the City responded quickly by partnering with the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce to create the Sequim Small Business Rapid Relief Grant Program, funded mainly through a rainy-day account created by the City Council a few years earlier. The program enabled the City to award over $500,000 in grants to 58 local businesses including salons, restaurants, boutiques, fitness centers, and dog groomers. Sequim business owners describe the grants as a lifeline that enabled them to stay afloat, providing crucial support to weather the pandemic and its many challenges.
AWC’s Municipal Excellence Awards recognize innovative city projects that significantly improve the quality of life for their communities. The competition is open each year to any Washington city or town. Projects will be recognized at AWC’s Annual Conference online this June.