Imagine Tacoma–S. 19th & Tyler (2)

As the City Council and JMAC (Joint Municipal Action Committee) wrestled this week with a vision for the combination of lands at the southeast corner of South 19th and Tyler, Imagine Tacoma looks at what ‘might’ be considered for the ‘neighborhood’ sans Cheney Stadium:

Henry Foss High School for Environmental Studies
Combine the City’s embrace of sustainability with a School District pedagogical overlay to create a high school with a focus on environmental design. Devote the South end of the property for an experimental ‘Enviro Research Field’ for the testing of the application of new and old environmental technologies – a demonstration field so to speak (from worm bins to wind turbines). With great solar access, wind potential, proximity to the land fill (methane powered boilers?) and visibility from SR 16, the school could be a secondary upland partner to Urban Waters.

Passive Recreation
Augment the existing park with improvement of trails through natural drumlin and provide clear connections to the other facilities within the neighborhood.

Active Recreation Park
Consider the existing Cheney Stadium site for creation of a active recreation park that might include a mountain bike course (with access direct from the Scott Pierson Trail), a skills course, a ropes course (both high and low) and/or a dog park (Titlow Pool needs to stay at Titlow Park).

The focus of increase residential density and commercial development needs to be within our currently designated mixed-use centers (I thought that is why they exist?)– not continuing to sprawl into our undeveloped natural areas – because once these area are gone, they are not going to be recreated – ever. These natural areas are key pearls in the necklace of open park space between China Lake and Snake Lake – connect them – don’t dissect them.

And as for Cheney Stadium? It should be relocated to the tank farm at the Eastern tip of the Thea Foss Waterway.

Located there it can combine natural beauty, economic development, and Port buffering to become the model for all small urban ballparks – Go Tacoma Tugs!

(For the full waterfront stadium discussion see

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Mofo from the Hood

I like all points of this bulletin.

Regarding Cheney Stadium, in the least as it stands, please remove the goofball cladding from the outside. The structure as bare concrete has a design integrity. The tacked-on graphics are an insult to the designer.

Communication by cartoony overstylized graphic and type display really isn’t necessary on Cheney Stadium. There’s an appropriate place for such communication, an appropriate place for a McDonald’s Playland and supporting graphics—-McDonalds.

August 1, 2008 at 8:54 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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oh, so we <span class=“caps”>CAN</span> watch the sea lions chase the homerun balls!!!!  can just imagine the divers searching for balls….

August 2, 2008 at 6:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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You're Welcome

I go to Cheney to watch the games and I don’t see many of you there!  You’re telling me that after we drain the tax payers money and build a minor league ball park down town, you all will attend more games?

I find that doubtful!

August 2, 2008 at 11:14 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Great idea, David! I really like the idea of having an environmental focus for the high school. Maybe other high schools could have focuses in other sectors.

When are you running for office again? It doesn’t matter because I’m starting a write-in campaign for you! You can thank me later.

August 3, 2008 at 3:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I don’t like the enviro high school idea but the Cheney Stadium idea came right from my own mind.  I think I wrote about all this on the MM Bridge blog. I’ve been telling my GF for a long time that Tacoma should put Cheney where the oil tanks are on the mouth of the Foss and make the MM Bridge uable again – a destination ballpark.  This would make that area usable and attractive to developers.

They move Cheney to the Foss and have a Bricktown like <span class=“caps”>OKC</span> has.  Nice condo’s that actually look AT the city (ala Johnny’s Restaurant’s view)instead of away from it on the north side of Foss.

August 3, 2008 at 8:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

OK, wow. This is really picking up some steam here. I recently had a conversation with my uncle (who works for the city), and apparently this topic has come up in conversation… in meetings and @ the water cooler.

<span class=“caps”>WARNING</span>! <span class=“caps”>TREAD</span> <span class=“caps”>WITH</span> <span class=“caps”>CAUTION</span>!

If this kind of thing is seriously on or even near the table at the official level, we got to do this right. Not only are we talking about the freaking stadium, we’re talking about the whole neighborhood, and a large parcel of land.

We (and by “We”, I of course mean Tacoma, collective) need to keep things straight.

1) Tacoma is <span class=“caps”>URBAN</span>, not another suburb.. no strip malls, etc.

2) Tacoma is not Seattle, nor Bellevue. We cannot build nor plan like them, because we are not them.

3) Zoning, zoning, zoning! No single use for anything… if this thing gets turned into a shudder development, we got to press for multi-use or else we’ll face the problem addressed in point #1… although it will be far to Our benefit to not make the area into any kind of development…

4) Greenspace… got to keep it green. I wholeheartedly endorse any kind of “redevelopment” to be nature-centric. The article is right, once nature is plowed it ain’t coming back sans the apocalypse.

5) Cheney and Taxes… are the People ready to take on more tax for a stadium that is seldom more than 60% full? I know many people would go if it was in downtown, myself included. It’s a pain to drive and park all the way out to 19th and Tyler… at least for those of us in the more northern reaches of town. If we can’t even pass a bond to renovate our Dome, how would a relocate of Cheney stand a chance?

So, I’m mostly rambling because it’s late and I’m tired. What I am ultimately trying to say in too many words is this:

Think, people!

If anything is to be done, it has got to be done right. Tacoma deserves better than the crud it’s made in the past. Tacomans deserve better than the crud we’ve been given.

August 4, 2008 at 5:56 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

move Cheney to the tank farm and I’d go to every game!  And I fucking hate baseball!  Just the idea of fireworks all the time over the water is a sexy prospect. 

All that money spent on refurb the tacoma dome should be going to this. 

in an alternate reality where the people decided to pass on the stupid convention center idea, this is drawing in crowds of people to downtown right now!

August 4, 2008 at 4:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Mofo from the Hood

Foul balls at Cheney? All the time.

Foul language? Never.

August 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

in an alternate reality where the people decided to pass on the stupid convention center idea, this is drawing in crowds of people to downtown right now!

I didn’t vote for it, but then again no one ever listens to me anyway.

The problem with the convention center is that it’s a big-ticket item. For a comparison, look at Seahawks stadium or the WaMu towers in Seattle.

While they serve their limited role, they’re hopping.

But they’re dead as it gets all other times. These animals are fine and all, and fill their needs. But a convention center won’t bring folks downtown in a meaningful way. Skyscrapers won’t bring people downtown except to work, M-F, 9-5.

Here’s what I say.

Leave Cheney et al alone, save for maybe a repave of that access road from 19th. Maybe some clean up and flowers, but you get the idea… leave it alone for now. We’ll bother with it later. There are so many fish to fry that it has got to be prioritized.

Start at the core, that is downtown. Drop the B&O, drop the parking requirement. Replace almost all parking lots with mixed use… not just 5-7 story, but throw in high-rises too. Make a minimum height limit of 15 stories in certain areas. Plant trees, reduce speed limits, hide parking in tastefully designed garages and provide parallel parking wherever feasible. In short, make downtown into a place people want to go, a place that is interesting and feels safe to walk. Have enough diversity of shopping, food and entertainment to keep it hopping 7 days a week, way into the night. Perhaps if folks want to be downtown, then a Foss stadium for the Rainiers might make sense.

Let’s fix that problem which is a very visible one (and seemingly quite high on City Council’s list), and work our way out. I’d rather see some love given to Hilltop and Lincoln/International before we mess with the 19th and Tyler.

August 4, 2008 at 11:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Hmmm, I think your idea is better Thorax.  How about a beautification process downtown with all that stadiu money.  You know, ala Broadway <span class=“caps”>LID</span>, but everywhere.  Make downtown nicer, full of tax abatement zones, business incentives, and maybe those vacant lots will fill up.

I’d like to see a cablecar downtown on a few of those hills.  Some older folks can’t get up them and it might open up some of the streets on the hill.  It’s silly to think people won’t walk the hill to a destination but I think it’s the truth.

August 4, 2008 at 11:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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David Boe

The problem with going with what we got and improving our existing, is that it is not ‘sexy.’  A vision that reinforces the pedestrian is deemed by City Hall to be well ‘so pedestrian.’  Until the movers and shakers realize that the best use of public funds is to make our existing urban centers work on the cylinders that they have – curbs, gutters, sidewalks, buried power lines – they will forever be looking for the next ‘saviour’ project du jour – Multi-plex, Aquarium, Urban Waters,Dr. Pepper Field (which has a lovely view of an Embassy Suites), Spire, Converntion Center, etc…  So if ‘sexy’ is the current mind-set, well then at least put some sex where otherwise we have eyesore and not screw up existing natural enviroment and open space that we currently have (and have I now just channeled McButterpants?).

August 5, 2008 at 12:13 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

If “sexy” (it’s really a stretch to call urban development sexy, isn’t it?) is what the Council wants, then give it to them.

Without making judgments about the individuals we elect to run our fair city, politicians tend to be dense or blind to things that don’t serve their need to be re-elected… my apologies for repeating politics 101 here.

My point is, if a sexy project is what will get the green light, then a major pedestrian-friendly, re-urbanization of downtown like I propose should be packaged and pitched to the council as a sexy savior.

Make it big, make it sweeping. Instead of zoning, propose to a visual zoning system… if buildings fall in line with a pre-approved appearance, the permit process is expedited. That will encourage developers. Change height restrictions to be story-based rather than net height. How tall is 55 stories? Look at New York: 55 stories is between 604’ (The Orion) and 1200’ (Bank of America Tower). Not that I’m asking for a 1200 foot monster in our humble city, but you see the point I make: height limits in stories give you far more variety to what you can develop.

If all this can be packaged in a sexy way, maybe the City Council will finally listen.

The more I think about this, the more I really think we need some sort of Citizens’ action group on re-urbanization. In light of a troubled economy and troubled housing/retail market, some shrewd planning and investments may well help us lessen the impending blow, and perhaps give us a leg up when the rebound finally shows up… all as additional benefit to making a more vibrant place for 203,000 Tacomans to live in and enjoy.

August 5, 2008 at 3:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

when is Thorax O’Tool running for city council?

August 5, 2008 at 5:28 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

Also, drove by the Cheney stadium graphics today. 

Cosmic Horror!

August 5, 2008 at 5:29 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

when is Thorax O’Tool running for city council?

As soon as Jake Fey’s term is up, late 2009.

Speak of, anyone know the requirements to run for city council? I don’t see them anywhere on the city’s site.

Although, I do think I’d be quite frustrated with the workings of the political system, I know that one of my weaknesses is impatience. Perhaps I’d be better in a citizen activist group, a brainstormer or even a Tim Eyman grass-roots type. Or maybe Council isn’t that bad… my own home is in District #2, including Downtown and the Port (where I also happen to work). This is my neighborhood, and maybe I ought to do something for it.

Actually I kinda like that. No tax cuts or hikes, just proper use of funds. Yeah, I like that.

Of course, the reason why I’m getting so vocal about this lately is frustration. I went to Portland recently and some of the stuff they’re doing there is amazing. Why can’t we shape up like that? Why can’t Tacoma do good by it’s people and by the region? Like it or not, we’re the dominant city south of Seattle… Auburn, Fed Way, Puyallup, UPlace, Lakewood, etc fall under our influence far more than our neighbor to the north.

Let’s start acting like the urban hub of our region. Let’s give our neighbors a rich urban and cultural center. What we do here has the potential to positively affect about a million people in the Pierce/So King area.

Tacoma, we need to grow up, be the adult here. It’s about time other cities ‘round the Sound started saying “We ought to do what Tacoma is doing”. We need to be The City of Destiny, not the City of Wasted Dreams.

Yeah, Watch out Fey and Baarsma. I’m coming for one of you…

August 5, 2008 at 5:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Ya Thorax, I am from Portland and moved here on business 2 1/2 years ago.  It was fun for me working with the contractors to create the Pearl District- you know, even if it was only selling construction supplies.  But I watched and paid attention to how things got put together there.  The Pearl District, now the swankiest condo neighborhood in Portland, was a drug infested warehouse district before the Henry Weinhards building was made into condos in 2000-ish.  Growth has been fast and planned and, did I mention fast?  Maybe Tacoma should look into incorporating that model, step by step, into the surrounding downtown region.  I dunno.  It did work out well for them – beautification, tax incentives/abatements, etc.  Studdying what success looks like and how it’s achieved, and stealing the master plan is ok by me.

August 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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You're Welcome

I’m all for improving the neighborhood areas that need it.  The ones that stand out in the open and slowly deteriorate right in front of our eyes:  South Tacoma Way; parts of downtown; Fern Hill; Oakland… put some money into growth and improvements. 

I’m not so into tearing down new buildings or even buildings that make the city money, creating “urban living” in areas that don’t need to be touched (even the majority of the local citizens wish the city would leave 19th & Tyler alone).  Stripping away one of our few green spaces. 

Then what?  Imaigine Crate and Barrel and Tiffany’s want to open up a shop in this new urban utopia (snort).  Oh the river of tears and whining that these places belong downtown (and they do belong DT, so what’s the point).

August 5, 2008 at 2:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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What a great idea: tear down some buildings rebuild them somewhere else, raise taxes to do so <span class=“caps”>AND</span> neglect neighborhoods that need tlc. I’m all for it!

August 5, 2008 at 4:54 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

Jesse… do you have more info on how Portland’s improvements were planned out? You have my interest.

And to Mr Sniggles and You’re Welcome:

You all are exactly right. Leave Cheney alone, and focus our monies and energies on fixing what’s broken… just like I mentioned in many, many words above.

August 5, 2008 at 11:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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You're Welcome

Don’t hurt yourself patting your own back O’Tool.  I’m agreeing with you.

August 6, 2008 at 12:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

<span class=“caps”>LOL</span>, Nice!

I knew you were agreeing, but I did enjoy my back patting ;)

…I’ve been having a good run lately.

August 6, 2008 at 12:35 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax- I really don’t know specifics but here’s what I observed:

1. Tax abatements.  On some of the first projects in the Pearl there were property tax abatements for future condo buyers and capital improvement incentives for builders.  These abatements are coming to a close for many buildings built around 2000 and that moey is new tax revenue.  I remember seeing that Portland had $225 million extra this year in thier coffers because of the tax abatements ending on the first buildings.  Abatements look like a big giveaway to builders and condo buyers but int the end, the city and the property owners get more than they ever wanted.  It’s a win-win.

2. Gentrification of existing structures: Rehabbing existing structures saves money.  Throw in the tax abatement, building incentives, etc., and yu have a project a builder dreams of.  I remember hearing that the Henry Lofts (Henry Weinhards old brewery) had about $40k into each condo (average) and sold for <span class=“caps”>WAY</span> more.  I guess this requires changed zoning???  I remember a fire station, the brewery blocks, a brick warehouse, another brewery, etc.

3. Streetcars:  Streetcars made city living good for the city dweller and city worker.  You can ditch the car and still get to work!  This also frees up extra money for that expensive condo if you don’t own a car, right?  Streetcars in town go one way on one street and back the other way on another street at least a few over.  That way you get a streetcar passing in one direction or the other on multiple streets not just a two direction streetcar touching one street.  Am I clear???  =)

4.  Streetscaping:  Like the broadway <span class=“caps”>LID</span>.  There was a lot of this in the Pearl at first and then little when things got going.  Easy access was created off the broadway bridge.  After a while I noticed that the new projects seemed to be in charge of rehabbing the roads around thier structure – curbs, gutters, trees, in accordance to the cities plan.

5.  Blank spaces:  Parks.  Places for people to congregate.  A city is a social place. Have festivals in these places and make them lively here and there.

6.  The right neighbors:  Portland did a great job of attracting the right people downtown.  Hippies and artists.  Don’t laugh but these types are the best for making a city interesting and beautiful.  Isn’t fixing up a city all about making it interesting and beautiful?  “Let’s recycle that old house, man” These people go to and seek mom and pop places – which is great.

7.  No blank walls:  Storefronts instead of blank walls on buildings.  Walkways wide enough for families.  Windows on these storefronts and restraunts.  Again, cities are social places.

8. Underground parking:  Don’t waste the views in buildings upstairs on parking stalls!!  Make the ground-level storefronts.  (especially here in Tacoma with all her great views!!)

9. Shopping downtown:  This is the place to go to shop – not the mall.  Malls are for soccer moms in the burbs.  Limited zoning for new shopping by nearby malls.  Portland was actually somewhat behind getting a shopping district by Pioneer Square in the late 80’s.

I think that’s it.  Long post!  Hope you like Thorax and crew… you <span class=“caps”>DID</span> ask… I’ll post again if I forgot anything but this is all stuff I remember <span class=“caps”>SEEING</span> as a citizen and noticing as an excited Portlander.

August 6, 2008 at 1:31 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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One more thing… Portland did have a crime enforcement that punished drug, prostitution, and squatting crimes harder than other parts of town when the Pearl was just starting.  Those new condo owners need piece of mind if they’re buying in a newly (incomplete) gentrified area!!!  Ok, <span class=“caps”>NOW</span> I’m done.  =)

August 6, 2008 at 1:52 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

Those are some great suggestions… thanks, Jesse.

Does Portland have an archaic B&O tax like we do? The city sure seems loathe to get rid of it, and if we can’t convince them to do so, why not have a B&O abatement for new businesses as well? If a business makes it past 5, they’re usually here to stay… less taxes during those formative years may well help them stay afloat and encourage more to start.

If anything, we got waaaay too many empty storefronts in town.

August 6, 2008 at 5:49 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tacoma Taxpayer

I don’t think Tacoma would/could do what Portland did.  First, the City Council would have to hire a “consultant”, blah blah blah, then decide if no tax collection for 5 or 10 years would be ok. 

Quit the tax breaks on Condos, when the city has people who can’t afford their taxes on their homes, yet “yuppies” get a tax break it is total BS. 

Oh yeah, moving Cheney Stadium to the tank farm?

I wonder what happens if an earthquake hits us… liquified fill and <span class=“caps”>POOF</span>! we have Cheney Water Park.  Oh, and don’t forget, the “green” people will complain when baseballs would get hit into the water and a seal eats one and dies from it.

I agree with others, the City should be focusing more on Lincoln District, Fern Hill and others <span class=“caps”>BEFORE</span> they decide to screw up 19th and Tyler.

Another “Grand Plan” to give us more “bang for the buck” projects.  I will never forget Sharon McGavick saying, we need projects like the new convention center to give us more “bang for the buck”, infrastructure projects don’t do that.  Yeah, right, so we have streets going to H***, they can’t even paint crosswalks at intersections anymore.. “We don’t have the money” says the City,  yeah right.  Yet, the City Manager decide we need to spend a 100,000 dollars to put “art” near the Murano to “connect us”

August 6, 2008 at 9:47 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sassy McButterpants

the “green” people will complain when baseballs would get hit into the water and a seal eats one and dies from it.

I’m not saying I would complain… but I might cry.

August 6, 2008 at 3:03 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Don’t be a fool Thorax O’Tool, less taxes does not help anyone. If we want to get more done we need a larger government which necessitates higher taxes.

It actually makes more sense to raise the B&O tax for all businesses to help them succeed in Tacoma. And it should be doubled for small, startup businesses during their first 5 years. It’s the Tacoma way.

August 6, 2008 at 11:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tacoma baseball at Stadium bowl.  Enough said.  You could infill 19th and Tyler with more density where Cheney sits (hello tax revenue!), have an excuse to help Tacoma Public Schools with costs/maintenance of the bowl, finish off the whole bowl, and help out the near by businesses.  Wouldn’t a street fair and consessions be cool nearby/ in the Stadium plaza during baseball games?? Would baseball fit in the bowl???? 

The view, the history, the central location!  What about parking…

August 7, 2008 at 3:52 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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This post and comment string has been fun to read, thanks everyone for abetting my procrastination!

I love the Cheney-on-the-tankfarm idea, but not for this decade, and maybe not the next decade either. It’s a great project for 2020 or so. I do think it would help the Murray Morgan Bridge restoration effort, and that’s a good thing. I liked Jesse’s idea @ 28 of the Rainiers playing at Stadium Bowl, and allowing private developers to invest their own money in redeveloping the Cheney area.

More than anything, I like some of Jesse’s ideas @ 22, most of all streetcars that connect the downtown Link to our neighborhoods so people can leave their cars at home. Run one streetcar line from the northern Link terminal to Stadium (and beyond), run another from the southern terminal up the hill into East Tacoma, and run a third from the convention center terminal up the hill into Hilltop. All three of these downtown-fringe areas then get a major boost.

I’m also a big supporter of big tax incentives for building new commercial developments on empty parking lots, for putting parking underground, for restoring our existing underused buildings (no teardowns!), and city investment in streetscaping everything to beautify the city.

Do all this and we’ll have a city to be proud of, but more importantly, we’ll have a city that companies will want to locate in, bringing much-needed jobs downtown. This must be goal #1 because it results in increases in tax revenues, support for downtown businesses, demand for downtown condos, good people on the streets to drive away crime, and fewer people commuting to Seattle. This last point means we don’t need to build light rail to Seattle because the roads won’t be as crowded. Not spending those billions leaves us with money to finance the streetcars and streetscape improvements and the tax incentives for developing empty lots until those projects can start paying for themselves.

August 7, 2008 at 4:44 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

Sniggles, Sniggles… your comment gave me the giggles!

finish off the whole bowl

The bowl was finished at one point… until parts of it slid into the Sound at various points, notably in 1932 and in the 1949 quake.

I don’t know how suitable the bowl is for baseball, but I at least like the idea of improving existing infrastructure before building new.

..although the planned Link expansion right up Stadium Wy to Tacoma General would go right by Stadium. Interesting.

August 7, 2008 at 4:53 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Remember streetcars cost about 30% of light rail.  If Tacoma isn’t going to do light rail to Seattle then… it becomes useless -I hate to say.

Light rail (should) connect nearby towns where streetcars connect city neighborhoods.

August 7, 2008 at 5:08 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Thorax O'Tool

It’s a simple equation, really… 10% Link, 90% streetcars.

Link can hit some major convenience points and link cities (hence the name, perhaps?).

Thes streetcar the rest. I remember reading once, maybe even here on 133 that a city-wide streetcar system would be like $200 million… a fraction of the Seattle/Sea-Tac Link line.

Anyone remember reading that?

August 7, 2008 at 5:38 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I'm for Change (for tacoma)

I love the idea @ 29 – light rail/street cars from the Link to the East-side, Stadium, and Hilltop.  No that doesn’t cover everyone & every neighborhood, but it’s a great start.  Then expansion can work off those.  Why not take bites of the apple instead of trying to eat the whole thing at once?

August 7, 2008 at 11:52 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Yep, I agree with the recent comments. We have the Link and it’s overbuilt for the purpose it serves, oh well. We’ll do streetcars from here on to get much more bang for the buck.

The question in my mind is whether we’ll ever find the funding for streetcars if ST2 passes. I think not, which is one of the reasons I’m really opposed to it, even though I love rail transportation. My other reason is that it’s stupid for Tacoma people to spend all that money to help Tacoma residents to commute to jobs outside Tacoma. Tacoma needs to help Tacomans commute into Tacoma! That’s how we get more jobs here, and blah blah (see last paragraph @ 29).

Who’s going to step up and ask Tacoma voters, Do you want to spend billions on light rail to Seattle that won’t be completed until like 2030, or do you want to spend hundreds of millions on streetcars in Tacoma and other job-attracting improvements that will be done in the next 5-10 years? Put it that way and I think the choice becomes obvious, but no one is putting it that way, and Tacoma’s biggest mouthpiece (the <span class=“caps”>TNT</span>) is agressively touting Link to Seattle because we deserve no less (barf).

August 8, 2008 at 7:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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michael g.

Building on Scott’s transit tangent:

ST2 doesn’t include light rail to Tacoma.  It would extend it from SeaTac Airport to north Federal Way by 2023, with the goal of eventually getting it down here (probably around 2030, like Scott said).  The package also includes new Sounder trains from here to Seattle, more express bus service, and a contribution toward streetcars here if the city provides a share of the cost as well.

I have mixed feelings about ST2 — it’s very important for the region to have a good light rail system in the future, so I’ll probably vote for it.  But this package’s benefits to Tacoma are more limited and speculative than I’d like.

More generally, I think Scott is seeing the problem as more either/or than it really is — Tacoma needs good in-city and intracity transit to reach its potential.  What role, if any, light rail should play in getting people from other cities to/from Tacoma is debatable (a bus-only lane up I-5 to SeaTac and Seattle would be a lot faster, but also (even) more politically difficult to bring about).  But without quick access to the airport and Seattle, Tacoma will continue to be relatively isolated from the rest of the Puget Sound area’s vibrant economy, which ironically will discourage some of the people who would provide the critical mass of support for a streetcar system (and a lot of other civic improvements discussed in this thread) from moving here or staying here.

On another note, whatever your position on ST2, I encourage people to vote “no” on I-985, Tim Eyman’s latest initiative.  It would get rid of carpool lanes from 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m., which would leave buses caught in the often serious traffic that exists for at least hour on either side of the hours designated in the initiative.  This would be a huge setback for folks who support effective transit by bus to and from Seattle.

August 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I love all the ideas here, specially the ballpark in the bay!  But, if the Port isn’t going to allow a condo unit and a motorcycle museum, what’s the chances of a ballpark?  Not much, and the Port has a <span class=“caps”>LOT</span> of the steam behind the engine that runs Tacoma, our love bubble blue collar burb.

As Voepel says, we might, might have blue painted gas tanks in five years. Maybe.

As an ex-Portlander, I’m really tired of the comparisons with that forward thinking town.  In the late 70s we hated Seattle and SF because because all the great stuff was flying over between the two.
But what Portland had back then (early 70s) was real outside weeklies by real outsiders, a mayor who to avoid a confrontation by rampaging hippies and malcontents and gave a free concert out of town (complete with pot) so as not to disrupt the national law enforcement convention downtown (remember this was 72-73),  a governor who was famous for putting up billboards at the border of CA saying “Please come visit, but don’t stay” , and a mayor who took the freeway money and turned it into a mass transit system.  And he did that over the loud cries of the general local populous who initially hated the idea.  Ask them what they think of it now.

Portland also had Intel, and Nike which create a healthy working class which turned into a healthy amount of divorced white males which bought up all those condos in the Pearl district. 

In any of those situations where does Tacoma compare?

True, Portland is the steer that runs the bullpen in Oregon, but its history is founded by the fact that it was founded as a utopian community;  Tacoma, in the hope of a railroad that went bankrupt. 

One community built upon the idea of the whole, the other by the enrichment of a few.

I believe the histories of these two town should not be compared any longer. 
Lets look to Oakland, or Long Beach, or Bremerton, or Everett, to compare, true blue collar towns that weather economic storms and because of that fact,  we work when others can’t (how many exquisite chefs will still be working Portland after a very long economic downturn? Although, Portland being Portland, will support them for a very long time). We’ll still be proud beyond all expectations.  We’ll still have a natural beauty that Portland can only dream of, and a sense of community that Seattle lost long ago.
We still have Tacoma, the real pearl of the west coast, a town unwilling to reach the heights of towers like becons calling developers to turn a good profit and filling our barren downtown streets into colorful landscapes of people who might actually live . . .and work . . .here.
But a ballpark where I could catch a few rays in the summer and glance up at the towers over downtown while munching on peanuts and watching tall ship crews train on the bay, and thinking, hell, who would of thought of this?!
Not in a million years. Not going to happen.
Instead, Let’s tun this town into a world class working town – printing, bronzing, (hate to say it, glass), hard core shit that will stand it above all others.  It’s always been that way, and it has the seeds to do that forward.

August 11, 2008 at 7:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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As a ex-Portlander as well, I agree that Tacoma is unique and different to Portland in 2008.  If you compare Portland 1980 to Tacoma 2008, you have very similar towns.

Besides, the Pearl was built from warehouse shells only in the late 1990’s.  It’s a great comparison to what Tacoma wants to do.  As well, you do have bigger industries in Portland now full of condo lifestyle city dwelling people but we have all those hipsters/ urbanites to steal from Seattle if we make it worth thier move.

August 11, 2008 at 1:54 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Yes, I agree, Tacoma c. 2000 when I moved here was just like Portland 1977 when I moved there.  The difference was a mindset of the civic leadership that freeway money could build mass transit instead. 

Unfortunately, that money bag is held hostage by Seattle, always will be.

What happened after in Portland was startling, even if over the chagrin of the populous of P-town.  But the system won them over very quickly.

It’s just the way it is.

August 12, 2008 at 3:28 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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J. Cote

I’d like to comment on a few things that I’ve read here.

First, the dialogue in and of itself is refreshing. People are talking about it and that’s always a good thing.

Moving Cheney Stadium ain’t gonna happen. Not in my lifetime and not in the lives of my sons. The bond to upgrade the T-Dome fell like a Motza Ball in August. No way are the Money holders gonna fall for that. Baseball in Stadium Bowl?? Not til you’ve convinced every voter in town to smoke whatever it is you’re smoking to have that idea swimming in the grey matter.

More strip malls? Glad I’m not the only one that thinks that idea sucks. Why not just leave 19th and Tyler the hell alone? Why is it that any time that there is a tiny strip of undeveloped land anywhere, the Real Estate folks and the Developers get a Testosterone Surge and walk around with bulging muscles wanting to rip out trees and build more condos and give away more tax abatements? Let the trees alone. The Scotch Pine looks pretty in the late Spring and some of us like the sounds of chirping birds.

Tacoma is running out of undeveloped land. It’s a rarity. Enjoy iy. Besides, there is NO <span class=“caps”>BETTER</span> site than to sit in a seat at Cheney with a great view of the team’s namesake while sipping a warm beer and smelling the freshly-mowed grass. Looking at a skyscraper during a ballgame??? Might as well be back in the Kingdome.

August 12, 2008 at 6:31 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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David Boe

OK – some clarifications:

1.  Relocating Cheney Stadium:  The concept proposed by the City/County/MetroParks three-way is that they are looking at rebuilding Cheney Stadium to emulate Pepper Field in Texas – so if you considering completely rebuilding a stadium in the first place – maybe you should look at other locations that would provide a better setting <span class=“caps”>AND</span> also be an economic generator beyound the confines of a single project.  I agree the view out of Cheney Stadium is nice – but nothing like looking out over Commencement Bay.  And what would replacing the tank farm say about priorities about connecting this City to it’s waterway?  As for liquifaction – yes that is an issue – but better to have a new facility designed to current requirements – then wonder about how all of those existing tank foundations are going to perform when ‘The Big One’ comes – what type of pollution hazard are those babys sitting on that same soil? (and not to sound like an alarmist – but those tanks can explode even with teh best safety measures – will knock a few windows out a few condos I suppose).

2.  Open Space:  Yes.  Keep the existing natural areas of the site and connect them with trails and access points into the chain of parks and open spaces along the S. 19th/SR 16 route.  And look at ‘reclaiming’ the Cheney Parking Lot back to a recreational use.

August 12, 2008 at 1:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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David- I don’t think anyone would argue that the Cheney at the tank farm is a <span class=“caps”>BAD</span> idea.  I think people just don’t believe it could happen… especially considering the money involved, the current real estate market, etc., etc., etc. I would <span class=“caps”>LOVE</span> to be proven wrong.

A new Cheney at the tanks would probably mean a MM Bridge overhaul and roads in the area as well.  Now we’re talking over $100m.  That’s nine <span class=“caps”>BLIDS</span>…

August 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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michael g.

Re moving the stadium to the tank farm, I think David’s approach is politically tenable if people get behind it — study it as one alternative among many, and see how it compares in terms of cost and other factors.  People shouldn’t be too quick to shoot down good ideas because they’re “hard” to make a reality.  That’s not how communities realize their potential.

August 12, 2008 at 4:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I love the possibility of a downtown park, I know I’d go more often.  But you’d have to tie-in the saving of the Morgan Bridge, and how possible is that now (although I can’t think the city is letting it get torn down a possibility).

August 13, 2008 at 4:28 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

lets see some REAL Northwest Innovation Works!

April 20, 2016 at 9:52 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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