Community Indicators: Art Businesses

Family walking around Capitol Lake with Dome in background

Measuring Our Progress with Community Indicators

Community Indicators are a way for us to track and share progress on our community's vision within each of our five focus areas. Data for the indicators may be impacted by City initiatives or actions, but are also influenced by the broader community.

For each indicator, the gauge highlights progress toward our goal, and areas to learn more or focus more attention. Right now, the goals are general (ex. increase). Over time we expect to identify more specific targets, where appropriate.

You can explore each of the indicators by focus area below, or view them all at-a-glance on our Community Indicators Dashboard (PDF).

Two teens showing of vegetables in community garden

Community Safety & Health Indicators

Citizen satisfaction with their involvement in City decision making

2017 2018 Goal rating
75% very or mostly satisfied 75% very or mostly satisfied
(2017)
Increase Green

Olympia's Comprehensive Plan's value statements emphasize public participation: "The City of Olympia places a high priority on engaging citizens early and often and regularly demonstrates how the voices of the community are heard...Olympia engages the public in major decisions through a variety of methods...Because of this, the City has built trust with the community."

This indicator is based on a statistically-valid survey of Olympia residents, which asks people who state they've participated in a City planning or decision-making process to rate their experience. Respondents may be influenced by many factors regarding the quality of their experience, potentially including the frequency of opportunities, notification, convenience, ease of providing input, whether they felt heard and outcome of the process.

In 2017, the City added online tools for citizens to find information, provide comments or report an issue:

  • OlyConnects - to make citizen service requests
  • SmartGov Portal - to apply for permits and get permit information

These tools are in addition to major planning processes that includ extensive public involvement processes, including:

  • Completion of a Downtown Strategy
  • Missing Middle Infill Housing
  • Sea Level Rise Response Planning
  • Parking Strategy
  • West Bay Park & Restoration Plan

A 2014 city-wide survey asked respondents to rate their neighborhood, overall, as a desirable place to live: Excellent, Very Good, Satisfactory, Fair, or Poor. 85% rated their neighborhood Excellent or Very Good. In 2017, a city-wide survey asked respondents to rate Olympia as a place to live. 75% rated it as Excellent or Very Good.


Man waving out of window in Downtown

Downtown Indicators

Citizens rating Downtown as safe (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
(2017 data)
Increase Red

Downtown Olympia is an economic and social hub in our community. The City has and will continue to invest in the Downtown to encourage market-rate housing, new specialty stores and boutiques, and to attract visitors to places such as Percival Landing, the Hands on Children’s Museum, and our many theatre and art venues. Visitors to Downtown experiencing a clean and safe environment Downtown are more likely to continue working, living, and playing Downtown.

Visitors views on safety revolve around their experiences Downtown, including the presence of law enforcement, waste bins that are not overflowing, clean, accessible walking routes, proper illumination, lack of graffiti, and a sense that there is a place for everyone.

  • In the fall of 2017, voters approved a new Public Safety levy that will provide additional walking patrol officers Downtown, a new mobile mental health outreach unit, and new Code Enforcement resources. Our Waste ReSources utility recently launched a new Downtown shared compactor to help businesses with better options for waste disposal.
  • The City employs two Downtown Ambassadors to assist visitors in finding shops and services, as well as a Clean Team that aids in graffiti removal, trash pick up, and assistance to business owners who need it.
  • In 2017, the City partnered with Providence in launching a Downtown Community Care Center to help connect houseless individuals with direct services.
  • In the Spring of 2018, the City has placed a Housing Levy on the ballot with the goal of providing affordable housing and resources to the most vulnerable in our community.
  • Through input provided from the Downtown Strategy, the City is planning future infrastructure upgrades to improve driving, walking, and biking Downtown.

All of these efforts are aimed at helping to provide a Downtown that is safe and welcoming for all.

Data for this measure is obtained through a community survey that is conducted every two years.


Man shopping for produce at Olympia farmers Market

Economy Indicators

Number of arts-related businesses

2017 2018 Goal rating
333 333
(2017)
Increase Red

Arts-related businesses are those that host or support the creation, displaying, or sales of art, such as theaters, galleries, supply stores, or work spaces. These businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy.

A number of factors influence whether arts-related businesses locate and flourish in Olympia, including: the perception of Olympia as an arts community, the affordability of artist's housing and studio space, the general health of our downtown, and the local and national economy. The City can play a support role in influencing many of these factors.

While the City has no direct ability to directly influence this indicator, they are able to help shape an environment that is conducive to attracting arts-related businesses. The City's recent investments in arts infrastructure such as the Washington Performing Arts Center's facade and the Hands On Children's Museum structure as well as ongoing investment in public art helps create strong arts anchors in Olympia.

This demonstrates the City's support for the arts and contributes to a creative, vibrant community. The non-profit Olympia Artspace Alliance continues to work toward the community goal of artist live/work housing, And Olympia's bi-annual Arts Walk celebrates the arts as a defining characteristic of our community.

These numbers are part of the Creative Industries report assembled bi-annually by the national organization Americans for the Arts. Analysis of Senate District #22 numbers annually will provide a snapshot as to the economic health of arts-related businesses in our community, which we hope will continue to grow and strengthen over time.


Two children holding trees in planters in Priest Point Park

Environment Indicators

City-owned sites with contaminated soil cleaned up (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
22% 20% Increase Yellow

We measure and report on this indicator because properties with contaminated soil or groundwater can harm human health and the environment. Soil or groundwater on previously-used properties may be contaminated by oil or gas products, chemicals, or other contaminants that leaked or were disposed of improperly by previous property owners, businesses or residents.

These contaminants can remain present in the soil for many years, or move through the soil in groundwater - sometimes reaching streams or Puget Sound - affecting the health of humans, fish, plants and wildlife.

The process of cleaning up historically-contaminated sites is governed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and WA Dept of Ecology. Federal and state laws and rules set standards for cleanup of each type of contaminant. Previous property owners responsible for contamination can be liable for the cost of cleanup, which can be very expensive. Site cleanup can involve years of work to identify and clean up contaminants.

The City of Olympia owns ten sites with known soil or groundwater contaminants from previous uses of those properties, or nearby properties whose contaminants flowed under the City-owned sites in groundwater. Two of those sites - Olympia City Hall and the Hands-On Children's Museum - have been certified by Ecology as cleaned up to required standards.

The City has completed assessments of historic documents and some on-site exploration to assess the contamination on seven of the City's remaining eight contaminated sites. The seventh site, the City's Maintenance Center, is scheduled for an assessment in 2019. Portions of three of the City's seven assessed sites have been cleaned up.Additional funds are being sought to clean up the remaining portions of those sites.

The City's Downtown Strategy recommends collaborating with private property owners to seek grants for cleanup of downtown properties. The City has a consultant that performs detailed research to identify previous property owners that may be responsible for past contamination. When evidence clearly identifies their responsibility, that party pays for cleanup costs. The City will be seeking grants in 2019 to help complete additional assessments.

We measure the percentage of City-owned sites that have been fully cleaned up per required standards. The City also works with owners of contaminated properties to clean up those properties through the land use and building permit process. However, information is not available to identify all properties in Olympia that may be contaminated.


Man and three children biking on neighborhood path

Neighborhoods Indicators

Amount of City located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
60.3% 61.88% Increase Yellow

This indicator highlights the importance of easily accessible green spaces and the community and environmental benefits they provide. Having a park or open space within a short distance from one's home provides a convenient place to exercise, to take the kids to play, to walk the dog or to experience a bit of nature within the city. It gives people an opportunity to visit their local park or open space without having to drive. Parks and open spaces serve as community gathering places, as well as contribute to a neighborhood's character and sense of place.

This indicator is primarily influenced by the number and location of parks and open spaces within Olympia's inventory. It is also influenced by the location of park access points in relation to the City's street network. Both of these influences are factors the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department incorporates into its long-range planning and acquisition strategy.

The 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan calls for the acquisition of ten new combination neighborhood parks/open spaces. The plan calls for a total of 417 acres of land acquisition. Five acquisitions totaling 343 acres are planned for by 2021.

The City is also exploring creating new park access points in cases where this will make the park walking-distance to substantially more residences.

Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software, we annually map our park system to determine what percentage of the City is located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space. Each year, through acquisitions and development of new park access points, we strive to increase the percentage of the City that is within a 1/2 mile.

Connect With Us