Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of June 16, 2015


At this week's Tacoma City Council study session, the council will hear a presentation on a year-round, youth development cycling program that uses bicycles to expand experiences and opportunities for youth. The Major Taylor Project, a program of the Cascade Bicycle Club's Diversity and Inclusion Department, integrates cycling, healthy living, bike maintenance, road safety, and the importance of working toward individual goals to connect with students from diverse backgrounds. A new Major Taylor Project was established at Lincoln High School this April, and currently has 60 students enrolled. 



Councilmember Campbell will be bringing a proposal to his colleagues at this week's study session that would establish a three month pilot skateboarding project in Tollefson Plaza this summer. The proposed Tollefson Plaza Skateboarding Pilot Project would kick off with a ceremony at this year's Go Skate Day on June 21, and would continue for three months, at which point it would be evaluated to possibly be continued. We will have to wait until Tuesday to hear what exactly the pilot program would consist of. Previous Go Skate Days in Tacoma have been quite successful, with sizeable crowds of youth and children of all ages filling Tollefson for a day of learning and fun focused on skateboarding. 


Big Rocks

Last week quite a few people noticed the appearance of some large boulders in a section of parking strip along Ernest S Brazill Street and Tacoma Avenue, near Bates Technical College and the main library in downtown Tacoma. The people who noticed included The News Tribune's Matt Driscoll, who wrote about the rocks, and more specifically their intended function of discouraging loitering by the homeless in the area. Following the attention this move got, there will be a briefing at this week's city council study session about the practice, known as "site hardening," and the City's use of the practice to address homeless encampments.


Point Defiance Stormwater Treatment + Trail

A regional stormwater facility with about 1,500 linear feet of stormwater pipe and a new stormwater outfall is being built at Point Defiance. The project, which will require the excavation of about 100,000 cubic yards of soil in the park, is a partnership between the City, Metro Parks, and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Because the project overlaps with a portion of improvements planned for the Point Defiance Trail, the City and Metro Parks have determined that combining work related to the two projects would be mutually beneficial.

The City will manage the project and administer the excavation, including public notifications, design and engineering, permitting, bidding, and construction. Both entities will contribute to the cost of the project. A resolution on this week's council meeting consent agenda authorizes the agreement for the project between the City and Metro Parks, and accepts $3 million into the Surface Water Fund for the project, which is expected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.6 million.

A purchase resolution also on this week's agenda would award that amount, plus a 20% contingency, to a local construction company, for the construction of the stormwater facility. The new facility will take care of the untreated stormwater from 754 acres of North Tacoma, which currently flows from the Tacoma Smelter Plume area, directly into the Puget Sound. In addition to the Metro Parks funds, $1 million of the cost of the project will be covered by a state Ecology grant.


Jail Services

In 2013 the City of Tacoma entered into an agreement that had the City of Fife providing "jail services" for Tacoma through the year 2022. In March of this year Tacoma received notice from the Fife that it would be discontinuing the contract. Tacoma requested an extension through June of this year to allow for the negotiation of a new contract elsewhere; a resolution on this week's agenda would authorize an agreement for that extension.

The City has negotiated several new contracts to replace the old Fife contract in a more affordable and sustainable arrangement, and to allow for a smooth transition from Fife. Three additional resolution on this week's council meeting agenda would authorize agreements for jail services with Pierce County through 2020, jail and prisoner transportation services for the Nisqually Tribe through 2017, and a short-term emergency agreement with the South Correctional Entity (SCORE) for jail services through the end of 2015.


Tacoma History

Although enhancing preservation and heritage activities is a priority of Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan, none of the various organizations that celebrate and preserve Tacoma's past currently receive City support, and their connections to the City and City staff are limited. Councilmember Walker is proposing to use $50,000 of the council's discretionary Contingency Fund to support programs and projects that educate the public about Tacoma’s history and heritage. 

The proposal includes a request that staff develop guidelines, outcomes, funding amounts, and a competitive process to guide spending decisions to fund efforts by organizations such as the Tacoma Historical Society, Historic Tacoma, Pierce County Heritage League, North Slope Historic District Association, and the Buffalo Soldiers Museum.The competitive process would include specific criteria developed for evaluating the impact, need, and effectiveness of applicants’ proposed projects and programs. A resolution on this week's regular council meeting agenda would authorize the proposal.


Other Items

There will be a presentation of the Governor’s Award for cost-saving measures relating to Environmental Services. 

A second purchase resolution on this week's agenda would award $2,045,592, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for eight Compressed Natural Gas Low Forward Cab Roll-Off trucks, for an initial one-year period, with the option to renew for two additional one-year periods to purchase two trucks in 2017-2018, for a projected contract total of $2,582,560.

A hearing by the council is on the agenda for this week's regular meeting for an appeal by a citizen of the recommendation of the Hearing Examiner regarding the Assessment Roll for a Local Improvement District for the placement of permanent pavement with curbs and storm drainage on South 69th Street, from Durango Street to South Madison Street, and on South Proctor Street, from South 69th Street north approximately 225 feet.

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Matthew Austin

That’s my appeal at the end, I hope that we will win because the alternative is the possibility of us losing our home.

June 16, 2015 at 1:05 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Matthew Austin

Well we lost, I feel nothing but regret.

June 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Looking at aerial photos it appears to me as though improvement wthat was done would disproportionaally benefit the owners of one single property that is has recently been developed.  You need to speak to an attorney.  There are specific laws covering which properties can be compelled to join an LID.

June 17, 2015 at 8:26 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I did, unfortunately the Hearings Examiner relied heavily on an appraisal that many appraisers have told me is illegal.  Right now I’m so underwater on my property that one real consideration is to let it go back to the bank.  The total amount of my assessment is $37k, which is substantially more than I make in a year. I was able to get part of the LID thrown out as the city could not show that I benefited from the Lighting that was installed and 80 feet from my property, and the light that existed prior to road development was unchanged.  the Assessment was originally $45k, but with some low income assistance it has been lowered to $25k, which is still twice what I make in a year.

June 17, 2015 at 10:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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ROCKS?!!! Seriously??! 

What the hell is going on here? I have a degree in Landscape Design, and have worked 17 yrs in the landscape industry… If they NEED a designer to produce a FREE design and have someone oversee the ordering, installation and budget control.. I would be happy to help!  But to put ROCKS up and down the street is ridiculous. Here, homeless people.. have a seat rather than sit on the grass… ??  The cost ALONE to import those boulders compared to drought-resistant shrubs such as rosa rugosa (wild rose- which has THORNS and beautiful fragrant flowers…) or Berberis Thunbergii (Barberry) which also has thorns and is a pleasing bronze-red evergreen…  The cost would have been 1/3 that of the boulders and much more aesthetic… This was just a stupid move and a waste of taxpayers money. The solution could have been accomplished for much less… Oh, and what about the trend towards “parklets” - Why wasn’t this an option?

July 16, 2015 at 9:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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June 11, 2018 at 4:16 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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