Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Chamber Returns Tollefson Management to City

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber has historically assumed, and continues to play, an active role in the revitalization of downtown Tacoma through such activities as managing the BIA and promoting and recognizing development through its City Center Luncheon. Given this commitment and as a follow-up to its involvement in the Project for Public Spaces activity and its sponsorship of Richard Florida’s Creative Cities class, the Chamber entered into a license agreement with the City of Tacoma to manage Tollefson Plaza, in the spring of 2008. The license agreement was not accompanied by any City funding.

The Chamber is very grateful to numerous community partners and the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Utilities staff for their efforts in helping to overcome barriers in activating the space. However, the recent and current economic situation has made it extremely difficult to secure adequate funding and sponsorships to fully underwrite staffing and appropriate marketing for meaningful programming of the Plaza.

Unfortunately, those challenging economic conditions and Plaza design issues have combined to thwart the Chamber’s ambitions to provide active management and programming for Tollefson Plaza. As a result, the Chamber has requested to be released from its license agreement with the City of Tacoma.

For the past 18 months, the Chamber has worked with sponsors and community partners to present two holiday season Tollefests, a Friday lunch summer series, a Lunar New Year event and has welcomed a variety of community events. Processes were established to accommodate various uses of the Plaza. A website and logo were created and promotional materials were developed.

Although the Chamber’s official role of managing Tollefson Plaza has ended, the Chamber looks forward to opportunities to collaborate on future efforts to activate the space.

Through its Metropolitan Development Manager Chelsea Levy, the Chamber will continue to invest considerable staff effort in both the management of the BIA (Downtown Tacoma Business Improvement Area) and in associated activities including working on downtown parking policies, graffiti prevention and filling vacant storefronts. The Chamber recognizes that the health and vibrancy of downtown is essential to attracting and retaining employers in Pierce County, and is the key to how visitors and employers experience Tacoma and Pierce County.

Inquiries regarding rental of Tollefson Plaza should be directed to the Tacoma City Clerk’s office.

No comments:

Post a Comment