Monday, June 25, 2007

Out of the Dawg House

Demolition began today to replace the existing UW Tacoma facility know as the "Dawg Shed" with a new 20,250 square foot Assembly Hall. The site is east of the library, flanked on the south by the Cherry Parkes building, to the north by the Walsh Gardner building and to the east by Pacific Ave.

Scheduled for completion in 2008, the Assembly Hall will serve as a venue for world-class public lectures, arts events, performances and classes and will provide a student commons area, collaborative study rooms and new retail space along Pacific. Construction will begin in September.

Citizen Input Sought on Downtown Housing

Citizens from the New Tacoma and Central neighborhoods are invited to give input this week on ways to broaden the housing stock in the greater downtown area.

The Downtown Housing Task Force, a working group established by the Tacoma City Council, has been interviewing different stakeholder groups regarding how downtown housing might be more inclusive of all income levels. The task force includes representatives from neighborhood councils, business, the building industry and non-profit housing providers. This week, the task force wants to hear from residents in the neighborhoods now included in the larger boundaries for downtown:

Wednesday, June 27th
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Room 16, Tacoma Municipal Building North

This is the room where the Tacoma City Council holds the weekly Study Sessions. Access is from 728 S. Helens or from 733 Market St. (come in on the second floor and take the stairs/elevator down to the first floor).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Can You Hear the Whistle Blowing?

In what may turn out to be one of the biggest announcements this year, the Tacoma Rail's Mountain Division revealed this week that it has signed a 10-month pilot agreement with the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train.

The train's original route--from Renton along the shores of Lake Washington and over the historic Wilburton Trestle--was slated to end due to the expansion of I-405. Now, the popular excursion train will begin its trial route in Tacoma August 3rd and will run through May 31st, 2008. The train's new route starts just south of the Freighthouse Square in downtown Tacoma where passengers will board and begin their three-and-half-hour roundtrip to Lake Kapowsin in Eatonville.

Long-term support from local business and community leaders--including substantial earmarks from Congress in recent budget cycles--have helped make the "Train to the Mountain" a reality.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Renewal Campaign Nears Deadline

Dan Voelpel harks back in his column in today's edition of The News Tribune to the downtown street scene twenty years ago and muses whether or not two decades of the BIA's property assessments have been necessary and helpful. Most pertinently, he asks whether--given the remarkable turnaround of the city center during that time--the program needs to continue, concluding with these words:

Maybe the day will come when downtown Tacoma can brush the dust off her hands, sit back on her ample laurels and rest like God on the seventh day.

Today isn’t it.

BIA ratepayers were mailed copies of the renewal prospectus several weeks ago, along with a mail-in card to vote for or against the proposed program for the next ten years. Friday is the stated deadline for returning the petition cards; 51% positive response is needed to get the effort over the hump. To date, 47% of ratepayers have returned their ballots with 43% approving the renewal and less than 4% opposing it.

Blogger Returns from Vacation

Paul Ellis has recently returned from two plus weeks on assignment in Europe, where he continued to promote the 'Buy Local' campaign (see photo).