Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Plaza Management Coming Up?

As noted here in earlier posts, a committee representing various private interests and local governments is working to initiate day-to-day management of Tollefson (Pacific) Plaza as recommended by Project for Public Spaces. The committee enjoys participation from the BIA, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, City of Tacoma, Municipal Parks, Tacoma Arts Museum, Courtyard by Marriot Hotel, University of Washington - Tacoma and other partners.

Over the next two weeks, participants hope to finalize a business plan and budget for a non-profit entity patterned after Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. The entity would manage day-to-day events and activities in the Plaza so as to promote more use (upping the number of "feet on the street"). Participants are also finalizing commitments for about $60,000 in seed funding to underwrite the organization's first year of operation.

In November, the committee hopes to present an agreement for consideration by the City of Tacoma. Plaza management could begin as early as the first of 2007.

Interested in helping? Contact Joanne Buselmeier.


  1. Great news, Paul.

    You've really moved this initiative forward. Will there be documentation available as to how one schedules participation or conducts events and business within the Plaza soon?

  2. The documentation will follow the City's approval of a contract with the new entity--our expectation is that this may be completed by December. Keep checking!

  3. Anonymous12:36 PM

    You guys realize that plaza is surrounded (to the point of strangulation) by very busy streets and a train. Before any children are actually killed by this park design, I would like to go on the record as saying: This is a bad Idea.

  4. Those are other issues addressed in the PPS report, available on our website (www.tacomabia.org). We have another committee looking at traffic calming that might be achieved through narrowing Pacific (do we really need that southbound right turn lane?)and strengthening the boundary with the Link line.

  5. Anonymous11:08 PM

    The southbound right turn lane is needed! I would go crazy if I was stuck behind 20 cars in the forward lane while wanting to go right on 17th. Now the second northbound lane could probaly go away , for that block or atleast in front of the plaza.

    All in all I really don't see the traffic being an issue. I don't know if I have ever traveled over 25 mph going south on Pacific in front of the plaza.

    If I recall the plaza as a whole includes Pacific Ave. If there is a big event Pacific should just be shut down.

  6. Anonymous10:06 PM

    The PPS document was clear about skateboarding activity in and around the Square and, as I interpreted it, did not see it as an abuse of the space.

    I wonder if the Plaza management committee would be sensitive to the energetic value that skateboarding downtown can bring. I sure hope so since "feet on the street" philosophically would include young adults skateboarding, right?

    Currently there are signs that prohibit skating in the plaza. We have seen little effort to repair or protect the lowest step at the Plaza that shows signs of skateboarding damage. While we've made recommendations and offered our assistance to repair the ledge in ways that would prevent further damage and/or reduce the skateboarding activity through the placement of a few site ameities...even some slight design modifications could easily make that space virtually unappealing to skateboarders.

    But that's not the goal. The goal is to get MORE people into the Plaza.

    There are people in Tacoma that want very badly to use that space...and it can be done in a way that is interesting and safe for all plaza visitors.

    Or skaters can continue to skate wherever there's available space...as it's been for decades. The path of least resistance is to put up "no skateboarding" signs and let our kids skate in the streets.