Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Towers on the Foss Clear Another Hurdle

In a planning process that began in March 2004, the Washington State Department of Ecology recently approved an amendment to Tacoma’s Shoreline Master Plan that allows for 180 foot towers to be built on the west side of the Thea Foss, north of the Murray Morgan Bridge. The property in question is owned by SimonJohnson LLC who has proposed to build up to four mixed use towers on the site. SimonJohnson is interested in possibly providing space for residential, commercial and retail tenants in the development as well as providing for parking and recreational uses.

The approved height increase is conditioned on a number of details including; providing enlarged view/access corridors, maintaining an average distance of 100 feet between the tower portions of the development and developing 50% of the roof as usable recreation space. The amendment also reduces the height limit to 90 feet on the municipal dock site adjacent to the Murray Morgan Bridge, clarifies the design review responsibilities of the Thea Foss Waterway Development Authority, protect the view of Mt. Rainer from Fireman’s Park and clarifies the regulation overall.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coming Soon… Pacific Avenue Construction

Roadway construction on Pacific Avenue between S. 17th and S. 25th Streets is scheduled to on Sunday, August 23rd. According to the City of Tacoma Public Works Department, this section of Pac. Ave. “desperately needs repair and is failing rapidly.”

The primary goal of the Pacific Avenue Improvement Project is to remove and replace both the base section and the asphalt surface of the street. The project will also repair sidewalks, curbs and gutters, where needed.

Constructions will take place between now and winter 2008 in the following stages:
1st Phase: 17th to 21st Street (west side)
2nd Phase: 17th to 21st (east side)
3rd Phase: 21st to 25th including 25th from Pacific to C Street (west side)
4th Phase: 21st to 25th (east side)

The Good News:

  • The construction work is scheduled to take place at night between the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • No construction work will be done at the concrete intersections.
  • Angle parking will be maintained within the area during the day.
  • Sidewalks will remain open.
  • The City and contractor will work with businesses to accommodate delivery schedules.
  • No utility work will be done at this time since it was done when the Light Rail was constructed.
  • When the project is complete (scheduled for winter 2008) we’ll have a new road and nicer sidewalks

The Bad News:

  • The street will be torn up!
  • There will be less access to shops, restaurants and other businesses along this segment of Pacific Ave.
  • Road construction projects often create a noisy, dirty and inhospitable environment.
  • During construction times (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) the road will be restricted to local and emergency vehicles only.
  • BIA sidewalk cleaning service along this segment of Pac. Ave. will be limited for the duration of the project.

The City of Tacoma Public Works Department is holding an Open House for residents and business owners to learn more about the scope of the work, the construction schedule and answer any questions about the potential impacts.

The Open House will be held on Wednesday, August 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Room 708.

For more information regarding this project, please contact Karrie Spitzer in Community Relations at or by phone at (253) 591-5790, or contact Dan Seabrands with Public Works at or by phone at (253) 591-5150.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Tollefson Plaza Moves from Vision to Action

It is official: the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber have signed the contract for Tollefson Plaza that will have the Chamber manage the Plaza and its growth as the center for Tacoma’s civic life.

Bordered by the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, Courtyard by Marriot Hotel, Tacoma Art Museum, University of Washington Tacoma, and retail shops and restaurants, an activated Tollefson Plaza will tie together a multitude of interests into one high-profile hub of activity.

Funding for the project received an early supporter when Rainier Pacific Bank became the first to donate $10,000—an encouraging boost representing the significant value that activities in the Plaza will add to downtown.

Events anticipated to activate the space include: Friday lunch markets, big screen movie nights, annual holiday festivities such as a Holiday Tree Lighting and a New Year’s celebration, and a Harvest Festival, among other events. The addition of tables, chairs, and all weather covering along with other aesthetic improvements, will soon create a more inviting environment.

The Chamber is convening area stakeholders to discuss future details and strategies for the Plaza.

For more information contact Joanne Buselmeier,

A Reason to Come to Tollefson Plaza…Showcase Tacoma

Showcase Tacoma, a multi-disciplinary arts experience takes place in the heart of downtown Tacoma next Friday and Saturday, August 8-9, 11am-9pm.

This 3rd annual event features the exploding local and regional arts scene! Enjoy visual and performing art exhibits and demonstrations, art installations, and performance activities for people of all ages!

Here’s what you can expect:

Awesome music for all tastes: The live music on the Main Stage will include indie rock, jazz, blues, and performances from some of the best high school musicians. The Helio Sequence is headlining on Friday night and has proven to be quite the draw! Before that, you can check out the Iron Artist competition at the Tacoma Art Museum.

Thought provoking poetry: On Saturday Washington State Poet Laureate Sam Green will be reading with special guests. The literary component has exploded this year, so if that is your scene there are readings galore throughout the event.

Art to buy and make: Indie craft artists will be selling unique wares. Try your hand at chalk drawing, ceramics, puppetry, knitting, and even break-dancing. There will broad range of activity and art forms represented from contemporary art installations to little ballerinas.

Good Food: The food and beverage are provided by all our local downtown (predominantly) restaurants/vendors: Pacific Grill, the Harmon/Hub, Maxwell’s Speakeasy, Two Koi, NW Popcorn (great ice cream), Kenya’s Italian Ice, Hot Dog Rod, and Cutter’s Point Coffee.

For more information check out the Metro Parks website here.