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Imagine Tacoma – Tollefson in Wonderland (IV)
With the TNT reporting Sunday that the City of Tacoma, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, are going to spend $30,000 on tables and chairs for Tollefson Plaza in the ‘hope’ that such amenities will be cause for individuals to pause and actually populate the forlorn urban space, Imagine Tacoma revisits the rabbit hole – once again:
Fill it in: The only reasonable use of this ‘left-over’ space of land that is dissected by the bLINK light rail is to fill it in with a mixed-use building that could incorporate a roof-top plaza directly accessible from the Convention Center over the rail line. The City could sell it to a qualified developer for a $1.00 and move-on (cause even turning it into a parking lot won’t work because of the funky geometry).
Green-it up: With the City professing to be on the cutting edge of sustainability, having a large concrete heat-sink at the center of town is somewhat problematic – so if not filling it with a building (with a green roof of course) – fill it in with plantings.
Create a defined edge along Pacific Avenue: If not Cadillac Ranch – then at least something.
Arranging Deck Chairs on the Tollefson: Since the powers that be are either closing their eyes to a situation they do not wish to acknowledge, or they are still not aware of the caliber of disaster with the current configuration, I offer this: If the concept it to make improvements to an urban space that is fatally flawed by its poor perimeter conditions, the bLINK dissection, the lack of surrounding density, and its odd geometry – then here for your imagination are 12 Steps to take before allocating funds on the fleeting notion of tables and chairs:
- Add parallel parking along Pacific Avenue (it at least provides some sort of buffer and transition at the edge of the space).
- Add Street Trees along Pacific (I know – Indian artifacts are presumed to be located in this small area where street trees should go – and more likely an asbestos steam pipe is located there as well – but just deal with it).
- All-weather green surface (reduce the heat sink footprint).
- Improve Crosswalk Connections (paint the #&@!ing lines).
- Water Feature you can see and hear (go to Olympic Sculpture Park and provide something similar because an invisible and silent water feature is just a waste of effort).
- Welcome Figure: Relocate the foundation for the proposed sculpture figure so it is at the front of the Plaza – not located behind the bLINK tracks visually imprisoned by the overhead lines.
- Landscape Water Feature: Fill it in with lawn (gives more places to sit on grass and probably best views into the plaza).
- Landscape along the bLINK lines.
- Upper Lawn: Build a retaining wall that will allow the upper lawn area at 17th/Commerce to be relatively flat. This will allow seeing over the bLINK to the main plaza and create an upper lawn area that is a bit removed from the noise and congestion (bocce ball potential).
- Create a public seating area outside of the Carlton Building (to watch bocce ball potential).
- Add Covered Ornamental Pavilion to the South Façade of the Marriott (a bit of Seymour Conservatory on the Plaza).
- Landscape Pacific Side of Plaza Steps (cause who is going to hell is going to sit here and look at Pacific Avenue?).
But maybe given the de Chirico aspects of the existing aesthetic, Tollefson Plaza is best turned into an urban columbarium – creating revenue with each internment and providing a compelling reason to frequent the austere space (and float flowers down the water feature).
Previously on Exit133
Another Tollefson based Imagine Tacoma
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