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CITY TO HOLD LISTENING SESSIONS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The City of Tacoma is working with its community partners to create a comprehensive action strategy addressing community needs relating to affordable housing. To help inform this process, the City and its community partners are hosting a series of community listening sessions to understand community members’ experiences surrounding this issue. Scheduled sessions include:

  • Tuesday, May 8, 6-8 p.m. at Peace Community Center, 2106 S. Cushman Ave.
  •  Saturday, May 12, from 4-6 p.m. at Blix Elementary School, 1302 E. 38th St.

Questions or requests for special accommodations relating to these events may be directed to Carol Wolfe at cwolfe@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5384.
More information regarding the City’s efforts to develop a comprehensive action strategy on affordable housing is available at cityoftacoma.org/affordablehousingstrategy. More information about the City’s progress toward its Tacoma2025 goals is available on the Results253 page at data.cityoftacoma.org.

C STREET SOUTH GETS NEW CURB RAMPS, SIDEWALKS

New curb ramps and sidewalks will be installed on C Street South to improve accessibility and sidewalk connectivity. Construction will start May 7, and is expected to be complete by mid-August.

New curb ramps that comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards will be installed at each intersection on C Street South from Wheeler Street South through Lafayette Street South. New sidewalks will be built on both sides of C Street South between Lafayette Street South and 112th Street South.

Work hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Impacts to motorists and pedestrians will be minimal. Periodic sidewalk closures will be needed. During these closures, a pedestrian detour route will be put into place.

Asphalt Patch Systems is the contractor. The construction cost is $396,775. The project is funded with a grant from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board.

Learn more about the project at www.piercecountywa.org/crp5860.

Pierce County is currently developing the ADA Transition Plan for Public Rights of Way. This plan will guide the county when scheduling projects to bring existing pedestrian facilities located in the public right-of-way in unincorporated Pierce County into compliance with ADA standards. Learn more at www.piercecountywa.org/ADAtransition.

EXPLORE TITLOW PARK’S WATERFRONT, NATURAL AREAS

The public is invited to tour the Titlow Park waterfront and visit its natural areas during a special Metro Parks event at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 12.

The event is technically a public meeting, but it’s more “open beach” than “open house.” The goal is to gather input on Metro Parks’ efforts to make parts of the 75-acre park more publicly accessible while restoring and conserving the natural landscape. The event is open to all. Everyone who has an interest in the park is invited regardless of whether they live close by.

Participants should meet at the park’s sprayground, close to the main parking lot. The public input will be largely unguided, with multiple contact points where visitors can ask questions and make comments; Metro Parks and its consultant also will introduce a new feedback tool that will help sort comments by location in the park.

Andrea Smith, president of the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners, will kick off the event.

“As a child I spent time at what was called Hidden Beach day camp, learning about sea life at low tide and how trees contribute to our well-being and environmental sustainability,” Smith said. “I’m excited to hear how citizens want to use this park in the future.”

The park district is refining its 2010 Titlow Park master plan to reflect changes that have taken place since then. Substantial public involvement contributed to the development of the original master plan. This revision is focused exclusively on the shoreline and the forested areas north of the park’s lagoon.

In 2014, Metro Parks voters approved a $198 million bond issue. Some of the money was earmarked to upgrade Titlow Park. The specifics included improved trail access to Hidden Beach and natural area restoration. The district also is considering how to manage a now-vacant waterfront site at Titlow Park’s north end to best benefit the public. Tacoma Outboard Association, which had leased a boat ramp, dock and clubhouse at the site, departed in 2016.

In all, 46 acres of Titlow Park are undeveloped forest, dominated by alder, big leaf maple and Douglas fir trees. The park is designated as bald eagle and pileated woodpecker habitat and includes several streams and wetland areas.

People who participate in the outdoor public meeting might want to stay for a free, family-oriented nature walk hosted by the Tacoma Nature Center. The hour-long walk begins in the park at 1 p.m. Advance registration is required for the nature walk. Visit www.metroparkstacoma.org/family-programs-nature-center to register.

Find out more about proposed Titlow Park improvements at TitlowParkVision.org.

Check the Tacoma Nature Center’s website for additional information about its series of Family Nature Walks.

PIERCE COUNTY ALIGNS E-MAIL ADDRESSES

After more than a year of working to synchronize outdated and confusing email addresses, Pierce County has finally made a user-friendly system.

“It has taken a while, but now the public can easily access their public servants,” said Pierce County Councilmember Pam Roach, who requested the changes which will begin May 19.

“We now follow the format for school districts, state government, the military, and all other local governments and large businesses by using a person’s first and last in the address. Now all you need to know is a person’s name and @piercecountywa.gov.

Previously, the county assigned an aberration of someone’s name to their e-mail address.

“My aide, Cheryl Marshall, was given cmarsh4. County Council Chair, Doug Richardson, was given drichar. These nonsensical names were just another barrier to the public and a time-consuming hindrance to co-workers.”

Previous e-mails will still work but the county is transitioning by publishing changes in print and web publications.

“I was thrilled when IT Director Gary Robinson announced the transition last week. He was giving me updates over the last year,” said Roach.

“Now, all of county government will have the same e-mail formula. You know a name, and you know their e-mail address,” Roach said.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH CELEBRATES ADAPTIVE REUSE 

Each May, the National Trust for Historic Preservation encourages local communities to celebrate National Historic Preservation Month. The City of Tacoma is excited to announce this year’s Historic Preservation Month theme of “Adaptive Reuse in Tacoma.”

“This year’s theme of ‘Adaptive Reuse’ highlights historic preservation’s connections between environmental sustainability, neighborhood revitalization, and maintaining community character,” said Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight. 

2018 Historic Preservation Month Calendar

Event details can be found on the new Historic Preservation Month website, hpmonthtacoma.com. Key programs include:

  • Historic Preservation Month Proclamation: Tuesday, May 1, at 4:30 p.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building in Council Chambers (747 Market St., first floor)
  • Kick Off: Salvage Art Show and Iron Art Competition: Saturday, May 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Earthwise Architectural Salvage (628 E. 60th St.)
  • Historic Preservation Month Reception and Awards: Friday, May 18, from 6-8 p.m., at Stewart Middle School (5010 Pacific Ave.)
  • Bringing Tacoma’s History to Life: Youth Historical Fiction Reading: Monday, May 21, from 7-9 p.m., Black Kettle Bites and Brew (744 Market St.)
  • Old Places, New Spaces: Adaptively Reused Trails Bike Tour: Friday, May 25, from 5:15-7 p.m., starting and ending at 7 Seas Brewing (2101 Jefferson Ave.)

Tacoma is a regional and national example of successful adaptive reuse projects, featuring rehabilitated schools, warehouses, and commercial buildings throughout the downtown area and in neighborhoods. The theme also aligns with the City’s sustainability vision to conserve resources and achieve lasting and equitable prosperity.

The month’s programming will showcase exciting new twists on Tacoma’s history. The kickoff event, a Salvage Art Show at Earthwise Architectural Salvage, will feature artists who are working with recycled materials – and visitors will have a chance to make their own art during the Iron Art Competition, a family-friendly timed sculpture competition. To register for the Iron Art Competition, visit hpmonthtacoma.com.

The annual bike ride is a partnership with Tacoma/Pierce County Bike Month, and tours adaptively reused trail corridors, including the Water Flume Line and Prairie Line trails. The lineup of events also features the winners of Tacoma’s first youth historical fiction competition, “Bringing Tacoma’s History to Life,” which gives young writers a chance to creatively interpret important moments in the city’s history.

“This year, we’re celebrating the opportunities for the future that Tacoma’s historic resources can offer,” said Assistant Historic Preservation Officer Lauren Hoogkamer. “Together with our city’s cultural and heritage organizations, our slate of programs encourages the public to acknowledge the past as we reimagine Tacoma’s future.”

For more information, including a full roster of Historic Preservation Month activities, visit hpmonthtacoma.com or contact Hoogkamer at LHoogkamer@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5254.

MAY IS HUNGER AWARENESS MONTH

Emergency Food Network brings awareness to hunger in Pierce County with opportunities for community members to get involved in local hunger relief.

May is Hunger Awareness Month in Pierce County. This annual event is designed to inspire community members to take action and raise awareness about the need in Pierce County.

More than 1.3 million visits are made to food pantries, meal sites, and shelters by residents in Pierce County each year, and 55 percent of these visits are children and seniors.

“May is the perfect time to bring attention to hunger as food pantries and meal sites are gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year,” said Helen McGovern-Pilant, executive director of Emergency Food Network.

There are approximately 59,000 children in the Pierce County school system who receive free or reduced breakfast and/or lunch. When schools are out for the summer break these students will no longer receive the one or two meals provided each day at school. Many of these children and their families will rely on food from food pantries or meal sites to help supplement their nutritional intake during the summer months.

“There are many ways to make a difference in the month of May,” said McGovern-Pilant. “We’ve made it easy for community members to join us in providing the increased food that will be needed when families in need make extra trips to the food pantry.”

Pierce County residents are encouraged to get involved in the month of May by choosing at least one or more activities to help their neighbors in need. Hunger Awareness Month activities include walking or running at the Hunger Walk & 5K Run, leaving a donation of food out by your mailbox during the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, volunteering at Emergency Food Network’s warehouse or Mother Earth Farm, and more. A complete list of Hunger Awareness Month events and volunteer opportunities with descriptions can be found by visiting EFN’s website www.efoodnet.org/hunger-awareness-month.

NOMINATE WASHINGTON’S BEsT TEACHERS

It’s that time of year again! Time to honor Washington state’s best and brightest heroes (educators) in the classroom. Ivar’s and Kidd Valley Restaurants are calling on all kindergarten through eighth-grade students to nominate their favorite, deserving teacher for a chance to take home the 2018 Teacher of the Year honors. Two well-deserving educators will be selected as grand prize recipients to bring home a $500 gift card good for classroom supplies, a commemorative plaque and the official title of either Ivar’s Teacher of the Year or Kidd Valley Teacher of the Year. Plus, the nominating students of the grand prize winners will receive either an Ivar’s Kids Meal – including a visit by Ivar’s famous Dancing Clam – or a Kidd Valley Kids Meal for every student in their class.

To nominate a teacher, students 14 years old or younger may visit select Puget Sound area Ivar’s or Kidd Valley locations (excluding stadiums and Eastern Washington restaurants) to complete an official entry form, or go online to www.Ivars.com/teacher or www.kiddvalley.com/promos-events.htm. All entries must be received by May 20. The official Teacher of the Year rules can be found on the back of store entry forms or through the Ivar’s and Kidd Valley websites.

The contest will also award four teachers a first-place prize of a $150 gift card for classroom supplies, and 30 teachers will receive a second-place prize of a $25 Ivar’s or Kidd Valley gift card.

Ivar’s and Kidd Valley encourages students to recognize and praise educators who have positively impacted them, and to share inspirational stories with other students and teachers. The annual Teacher of the Year contest, now in its 15th year, is one of the longest-running teacher appreciation programs in the state and provides students with the opportunity to honor those teachers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to teach, mentor and support them.

The 2017 Ivar’s and Kidd Valley Teacher of the Year grand prize winners were Kirsten Jewett of View Ridge Elementary in Seattle and Brittany Hall of Horace Mann Elementary in Redmond. Who will be selected this year’s heroes?

Participating Ivar’s locations in the South Sound include: Federal Way, Kent, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma (James Center).

WORKSHOPS HELP WADE THROUGH DISASTER INSURANCE

Pierce County is in the crosshairs for an exceptionally wide range of natural disasters – wind storms, flooding, mudslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos and fires. Homeowners and renters need to give careful consideration not only to how they will survive a disaster when it happens but how they will carry on in the days, weeks, months and years after the event.

Pierce County residents will have the opportunity to attend disasters and insurance workshops that will provide impartial information about how insurance works when it comes to disasters and what renters and owners need to consider to reduce their risk.

The free workshops hosted by Pierce County’s Aging and Disability Resources, will feature industry experts who will explain the ins and outs of coverage, exclusions, and recovery after a disaster.

The presentations will focus on homeowner and renters’ insurance options. Each event will provide participants information about the different insurance products and options that are available, and how insurance will work or not work with particular types of disasters. Time will be included to ask any insurance-related questions.

Disasters and insurance will be presented six times in May:

  • May 7 – 12:30 p.m. Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma
  • May 8 – 12:10 p.m. County-City Building, 930 Tacoma Ave. S., seventh Floor Rainier Room, Tacoma
  • May 8 – 6:30 p.m. Gig Harbor Branch Library, 4424 Point Fosdick Drive NW, Gig Harbor
  • May 14 – 6:30 p.m. Sumner Branch Library, 1116 Fryar Ave. in Sumner
  • May 16 – 6:30 p.m. Lakewood Senior Activity Center, 9112 Lakewood Drive SW, Lakewood
  • May 19 – 10:30 a.m. Parkland/Spanaway Branch Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma

“For many people there’s an ‘it won’t happen to me’ mindset when it comes to disasters,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources manager. “We’ve all watched scenes of devastation on the news where families and individuals have lost it all, even when they thought they were secure. It’s important to know how insurance works and the coverage homeowners and renters need.”

Sessions are information only; no sales are allowed. Each event is free and open to the public. Anyone of any age can attend. No RSVP is required. For more information about the presentations, call the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600 or (800) 562-0332.

MEET ‘MARCH’ CO-AUTHOR AT PIERCE COUNTY READS EVENT

Meet “March” co-author Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell at Pierce County Library System’s Pierce County READS free author event on Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m. at Pacific Lutheran University’s Olson Auditorium, 124th St. S., Parkland. A video message from co-author Congressman John Lewis (Georgia) may also be included.

At the largest community reading event in the state, learn first-hand accounts about the civil rights movement, how the “March” trilogy came about, and why the authors chose a graphic novel format. 

“Pierce County READS has been leading conversations in our communities for 11 years,” said Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “This year seems to be exceptional as people talk about diversity, society and how they engage in their community. Since launching this year’s community one-book program, thousands of people have been checking out the series and participating in book discussions and events.”

Since launching this year’s Pierce County READS on March 11, people have checked out more than 5,000 “March” books from Pierce County Libraries and more than 350 people have attended events throughout Pierce County so far.

“March” explores the life and activism of Congressman John Lewis. The congressman was a key figure in the civil rights movement and the only living member of the Big 6 that organized the march on Washington in 1963 where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic “I have a dream” speech.

Aydin grew up reading and collecting comic books. After college, he began working with Congressman Lewis and learned that Lewis had been inspired by a classic 1950s comic book, “Martin Luther King & The Montgomery Story.” They discussed the impact that comic books can have on young readers and decided to write a graphic novel together about the civil rights era.

In 2010 after being rejected by a number of publishers, Aydin took his idea to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Arts Festival in New York City where he cold pitched the idea to comic publishers. At the event, he met award-winning graphic novel artist Powell and the “March” series was born.

After the May 11 author event, the team will sign books. Attendees may bring their own books or purchase books at the event from Destiny City Comics.

For 11 years, Pierce County READS has encouraged residents to read the same book at the same time and engage together in a countywide conversation that celebrates and explores the power found in books. During this year’s event, “March” has been a catalyst for discussions about history and elements from the past that are relevant to today’s world.

Generous contributions from Pierce County Library Foundation and KeyBank Foundation sponsored the program and made it free to the community.

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