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Cleaning Up South Tacoma Way

South Tacoma Way is getting a lot of attention lately. 

Last month the City officially designated the stretch of car dealerships along South Tacoma Way as "Tacoma's Auto Row," giving the businesses the green light to apply to WSDOT for directional signage to the district along I-5. The City has also been gathering funds for improvements to roads and multi-modal transportation in the area, including the Water Ditch Trail. And the City Council identified investing in improvements to the area as one of its objectives for 2014.

The Business Examiner has more on efforts of local business owners to do their part to improve the appearance of the district. Three local car dealers in particular are exploring ways of making the South Tacoma Way more attractive to visitors, with a goal of not only drawing in and appealing to customers, but also creating a more unified appearance along the strip between South 37th and 80th.

Mary Byrne, general manager at Bruce Titus Automotive Group, Gary Gilchrist, dealer principal at Gilchrist Buick GMC Chevrolet, and Mo Aliabadi, owner of South Tacoma Auto have identified three smaller zones within the longer South Tacoma Way strip - 37th to about 48th streets, 56th to 66th streets, and 72nd to 80th streets.

The three leaders will be talking with other local businesses to determine interest in the creation of small Business Improvement Areas for these three pockets of businesses. A BIA would allow the businesses to collectively identify and fund improvements specifically for their areas. Tacoma's downtown BIA has been in operation for # years now, and seems to have had a pretty positive impact on the safety and cleanliness of the downtown core.

Full renovation of the district will probably be an ongoing project, but everyone involved is fully aware of the impending date of the US Open and all of its increased traffic. With that in mind, they hope would be to have some significant improvements to South Tacoma Way in place by the summer of 2015. Discussion of the creation of BIAs suggests the dealers are in it for a longer view as well.

Our goal, as the auto dealers in whole along South Tacoma Way, is to really clean this area up and make it — and not just for the auto dealers, but for all of the businesses along here — to make it a desirable location for people to come shop and feel safe and have a nice environment, just like you do in Puyallup, when you go on their auto row, or in Fife and some of these other locations.”

We're not sure about Fife and Puyallup as role models... but in this context, maybe it works? Either way, we're all for a new and improved South Tacoma Way. Can it be done by 2015?

Read more from the Business Examiner.

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