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Pierce County’s New Plan for Lincoln District Offices
Last November Pierce County voters told the County they didn't support a proposal that would have consolidated many of the Coutny's offices and services under one new roof on the site of the old Puget Sound Hospital building at South 36th and Pacific. That was an advisory vote, so it wasn't technically binding, but it effectively put an end to plans for the angular new building the County wanted to construct to consolidate services and improve accessibility and operational efficiency for county residents.
This week the County announced a new proposal, involving a kind of musical chairs of county services offices, and the demolition of several existing buildings.
According to The News Tribune, the County would sell two buildings it owns on Pacific Avenue just south of 36th Street to South Sound 911. Those two buildings currently house the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and the County's Community Connections social services department. SS 911 would knock down those buildings to build a new facility for its six regional emergency call centers.
The County would use money from the sale of those buildings to demolish the old Puget Sound Hospital building, which sits just north of them, on the other side of 36th. This is the same site where the County had hoped to build the facility voters said no to in November. At this point it doesn't sound like there are any plans to rebuild on this site.
The displaced Health Department and Community Connections offices would relocate across the street to an existing building, which the County would buy, leasing space to the Health Department.
The original plan was designed to consolidate services and improve operational efficiencies, saving the County money, and making services more accessible to residents. This plan doesn't sound like it would immediately do that, but it would deal with the old hospital building, which has been cited as a nexus of crime in the neighborhood.
The TNT says within 60 days SS 911 expects to know whether the site would suit its needs. If it does, the plan can move ahead. That process would include a series of community meetings held by the County to take comments from neighborhood residents and others on the new plan, which would ultimately need County Council approval to move forward.
The last plan didn't go so well - in part due to a feeling on the part of the public that Pierce County hadn't been transparent enough with its process, and didn't ask for input until the project was nearly a done deal. It sounds like the County may have taken a lesson from that failure to communicate. We'll see how they do on this go-around.
What do you think of the emerging plan?
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