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Prairie Line Trail Plans Move Forward, With a Few Unexpected Issues

With work well underway on the UWT Station section of the Prairie Line Trail, City design plans are moving forward as well - and finding a few unexpected issues.

The City is now working on finalizing plans for the northern third of the one (ish) mile pedestrian and bike corridor that will connect Tacoma's Brewery District to the Foss Waterway. This is the 20-foot wide section between 17th and Pacific and Dock Street, running along Hood Street, between the Tacoma Art Museum, and the United Way building at the corner of 15th and Pacific.

The News Tribune reports that the project is running about $300,000 over the $1.75 million budget due to a couple of unforseen issues. First, it looks like a retaining wall will be needed to level the slope along the Hood Street section of the trail. Plans are for a natural stone wall, planted with honeysuckle as a low-maintenance deterrent to vandalism. Another issue arose when soil was discovered to be more contaminated than expected, meaning it will have to be removed as a part of trail construction.

Other added costs could come from changes to the connection between Hood and Dock streets, and the need to route the path around the existing billboard that stands in front of the Art Museum, smack in the path of the trail. That billboard has a perpetual easement, so the City would have to negotiate with Clear Channel to get it removed (good luck with that).

The TNT has more on the project, including details of how the City plans to tie the trail to the history of the Prairie Line for users. Getting the trail itself built is just the beginning for this particular open space. Future plans envision a linear park with a scupture garden, narrative elements telling stories of all the historical elements connected to the space, and events and programming to activate the public spaces.

Then there's the hope that some day someone at the City will be able to negotiate with BNSF for the remainder of the 80-foot-wide right of way between the Art Museum and the United Way building. Maybe some day...

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