MALL SUBAREA PLAN AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW
The Tacoma City Council adopted Ordinance No. 28511 on Tuesday, May 15, relating to the Tacoma Mall Neighborhood Subarea Plan, bringing a three-year public planning effort to a close. The City will now focus on implementing the plan in partnership with residents, businesses, public agencies and the broader community. To review the plan and associated materials, visit tacomamallneighborhood.com.
The project consists of a subarea plan, zoning and regulatory changes, and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 575-acre Regional Growth Center – an area designated for substantial jobs and housing growth. The Plan initiates innovative planning and policy actions to help the area achieve its potential as a thriving, livable, walkable and transit-ready urban neighborhood. Key actions include:
- 90-acre expansion of the center and rezones to promote mixed-use development;
- zoning and design standard changes to foster an attractive, pedestrian-oriented built environment;
- plans for green stormwater infrastructure and tree planting to improve the environment, benefit public health and beautify the neighborhood;
- a multi-modal transportation strategy including capital investments, expanded transit service and pedestrian improvements when development occurs;
- parks and open space actions to make the neighborhood more healthy, livable and attractive;
- an affordable housing strategy including the City’s first Inclusionary Zoning program;
- major reductions in City parking requirements for new developments;
- steps to create a more complete neighborhood, support local culture and empower the community; and
- a collaborative action plan between the City, public partners and the community to put the plan into effect.
More information about the City’s progress toward its Tacoma2025 goals is available on the Results253 page at data.cityoftacoma.org.
HERITAGE PROJECT GRANT RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED
The City of Tacoma’s Historic Preservation Office has announced the recipients of the bi-annual Heritage Project Grant, which supports projects that increase public awareness and access to Tacoma’s history. In total, $40,000 was awarded to the following nine recipients:
- Downtown on the Go: $2,000 for three walking tours that focus on Tacoma’s history.
- Fort Nisqually Foundation: $5,000 for a special exhibit and permanent signage to highlight agricultural history related to the fort.
- Historic Tacoma: $3,000 for the redesign of the Historic Tacoma website.
- org: $3,925 for the development of 12 articles that focus on the diverse and significant people in Tacoma’s history.
- Job Carr Cabin Museum: $1,500 for the annual Pioneer Days Festival, which highlights Job Carr and Tacoma’s pioneer history.
- Knights of Pythias: $3,000 for the acquisition of equipment to create a digitized and searchable archive of Knights of Pythias artifacts and documents.
- Pierce Conservation District: $7,500 for interpretive materials for three of Tacoma’s community gardens highlighting diverse agricultural history.
- Points Northeast Historical Society: $4,500 to conduct a historic structures report to guide the restoration of the Browns Point Light Station.
- Tacoma Historical Society: $10,000 for the development and installation of an exhibit on “1918: A Year of Destiny” and outreach inspired by the 1918 Liberty Bond drives.
This year, the program received over $90,000 in grant requests. “We’re thrilled to be able to support this broad range of heritage programing and activities that are taking place across Tacoma,” said Assistant Historic Preservation Officer Lauren Hoogkamer.
For more information, visit cityoftacoma.org/HeritageGrant
CITY ISSUES RFP FOR OLD CITY HALL
Envisioning a high quality development that further enhances the vitality of Downtown Tacoma, the City of Tacoma has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purchase of Old City Hall at 625 S. Commerce St.
“Tacoma continues to evolve at a dramatic pace, with more than $1 billion being invested into development projects in downtown alone,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “With Old City Hall, the City of Tacoma would like to consider proposals for projects that complement surrounding development downtown, foster even more vibrancy in the downtown core, and re-establish the building’s preeminence in Tacoma.”
In the Old City Hall RFP, the City indicates that residential development, hotels and/or offices that support companies/organizations with financial strength, growth potential and career-ladder, livable wage jobs are strongly preferred. Street-level, pedestrian-friendly uses, such as restaurants and retail venues, are highly desirable.
Just a few blocks from Old City Hall, Portland-based McMenamins continues its $34 million restoration of the former Elks Temple. The new property is projected to open in the spring of 2019.
Adjacent to the Elks, Tacoma-based developer Eli Moreno recently renovated the Union Club into event and co-working spaces. Seattle-based AxoWorks, LLC acquired a nearby property at 725 Broadway and is in the process of developing co-working spaces there.
Developers will have an opportunity to tour Old City Hall on June 20. To participate in this tour, developers must respond by June 15 to Assistant Community and Economic Development Director Elly Walkowiak at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 591-5209.
RFP responses must be submitted by 5 p.m., Pacific Standard Time, on July 31.
More information about the City’s Community and Economic Development Department is available at makeittacoma.com or cityoftacoma.org/CED. More information about the City’s progress toward its Tacoma2025 strategic visioning goals is available on the Results253 page at data.cityoftacoma.org.
UNIVERSITY OF PUGET SOUND NOMINATED FOR VISIONARY AWARD
University of Puget Sound has come up with some creative ways to use the campus LoggerCard system to improve the experience of and collect data about the fourth quadrennialRace & Pedagogy National Conference that will be held on campus in September. The effort has attracted the attention of the vendors of the system, CBORD, which has nominated the university for its Visionary Award. The award recognizes the creative uses of CBORD solutions by an organization, and honors excellence in innovative applications of CBORD systems.
“The University of Puget Sound is visionary in leading the liberal arts colleges with the creative uses of CBORD Solutions,” noted Kelley DeMarchi, director of marketing for CBORD. “The university will be able to quantify engagement with the Race and Pedagogy National Conference in September, providing analytics and assessment through the data CBORD provides for the very first time.”
Assessment has been vital to the Race & Pedagogy National Conference from its beginning, allowing each conference to build on the experiences and lessons of previous events. Tasha Helton, systems analyst in business services at Puget Sound, explained that with past conferences it was difficult to get complete counts of attendance and required extraordinary human labor to collect, process, and analyze data about attendees and their conference experiences. By issuing special conference LoggerCards to presenters, alumni, and community participants, Race & Pedagogy Institute will be able to compare registration to actual attendance, measure the diverse characteristics of conference-goers and the particular sessions they attend, and continue the work of understanding the complex impact of the conference for different constituencies. The system works with university’s donor and alumni databases—the conference coincides with Homecoming and Family Weekend September 27–29—so the new information will give a picture of participation among those groups. Analysis of the data will help conference organizers track the most well-attended sessions to identify speakers and topics for future programming, and the data could aid with fundraising for future events among current donors, other participants, and grantmaking organizations. Plus, it will make registration and check-in at the conference more efficient.
“It’s a great honor just to be nominated,” noted Helton, who points out that most of the nominees are from large state universities and sizable medical organizations. “We’re proud of the work we’re doing to use these tools in analysis of the conference and identify participation for different constituents.”
Award winners will be announced in July and honored at CBORD’s Excellence Awards Dinner during its annual user group conference in October.
TRAFFIC REVISION COMING TO PRAIRIE RIDGE DRIVE EAST
Motorists will no longer be able to turn onto Prairie Ridge Drive East from South Prairie Road East starting June 11.
Motorists will instead enter Prairie Ridge Drive East from 120th Street East. Motorists will still be able to turn onto South Prairie Road East from Prairie Ridge Drive East.
A map showing the traffic change is available at www.piercecountywa.gov/maintenance.
Prairie Ridge Drive East is used to access several facilities, including the Prairie Ridge Transfer Station. Pierce County contracts with LRI Services to operate the transfer station, which is located on a Pierce County-owned parcel. The road is also used to access a Pierce County road maintenance facility, a stockpile area for Pierce County road materials, and a City of Bonney Lake potable water facility.
“Pierce County uses Prairie Ridge Drive East to provide a number of services, and the traffic and road configuration has created issues with traffic flow,” said Dennis Hanberg, Pierce County Planning and Public Works director. “This change is expected to improve traffic flow in the area.”
Currently, vehicles accessing the transfer station’s weigh station line up along Prairie Ridge Drive East and South Prairie Road East during busy periods. This revision is expected to prevent these line-ups along South Prairie Road East.
Pierce County performed turning counts and reviewed traffic volumes at the intersections of Prairie Ridge Drive East and South Prairie Road East, Prairie Ridge Drive East and 120th Street East, and South Prairie Road East and 120th Street East when evaluating options to improve traffic flow and access to the facilities.
BIOBLITZ FIRES UP CITIZEN SCIENTISTS
That’s the word used to describe the outcome of the 2018 Point Defiance Park BioBlitz, a 24-hour survey of living things observed in the 760-acre park.
By sheer numbers, the BioBlitz more than met its purpose of forging connections between people and their natural surroundings, said Metro Parks Tacoma’s Craig Standridge.
In his role as community engagement coordinator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, he oversaw the April 27-28 event, as well as the previous one in 2011.
“There was an overwhelming level of participation and enthusiasm,” he said. “It showed there is a real craving for this type of activity.”
The number of volunteer participants, 327, far exceeded his goal of 200 and was about double the 164 volunteers involved in 2011.
“Participation in a BioBlitz can be a life-changing experience, especially for young people beginning to build an understanding of the natural world,” said Andrea Smith, president of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners. “I am so glad this one touched so many lives.”
“The BioBlitz was a fantastic event to support our mission of connecting people to nature” said Karen Povey, also a Metro Parks Zoo conservation engagement manager. “Laughter bubbled through the forest and delight was evident on the faces of curious kids and adults alike as they met salamanders and slugs and scanned the sky for birds and bats.
“Such reactions are a wonderful testament to the value of experiences that immerse us in the natural world. The more we can connect people to their natural neighborhoods by encouraging discovery and wonder, the more our community will be inspired to celebrate and protect nature,” she said.
The BioBlitz teamed up ordinary people with naturalists and experts who could interpret what folks saw, heard and recorded using a smart phone app called iNaturalist.
Standridge said a goal was to take a snapshot inventory of life forms within the park. Over time, the record of periodic BioBlitz results will serve as a chronicle of the living landscape, helping park managers monitor changes over time.
The number of different species observed this year, 462, was 26 percent greater than the 366 noted during the 2011 Bioblitz. Encounters included more than 50 species of spiders and three species of bats, Standridge said. That was not a surprise to Standridge, who is familiar with the park’s ecosystems, but he said it was an eye-opener to volunteers.
Except for a few plants, all of the species observed during the April BioBlitz were consistent with what experts expected to find, Standridge said. Still, many of the naturalists and others who led teams of volunteer observers were impressed with the park’s biodiversity, describing it as a “green jewel sitting on the water” and an “oasis for species,” Standridge said.
And, there were some surprises. Hannah Kornbrath, who works at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, was leading five volunteers looking for birds along the shoreline about 7:30 p.m. when they heard an astonishing “Whoosh!” The sound turned out to be the spout of a gray whale, which displayed its barnacled back as it surfaced 50 or 60 feet away, near the Point Defiance Marina boathouse. The group watched the whale spout and surface two or three times before it drifted out of sight to the west. “It was just perfect timing,” Kornbrath said. “It was incredible.”
BioBlitz 2018 is over, but Metro Parks has plenty of other opportunities for people to have adventures in nature:
- Point Defiance Park events and programs: metroparkstacoma.org/point-defiance-events
- Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium citizen science programs: www.pdza.org/citizen-science
- Tacoma Nature Center programs: www.metroparkstacoma.org/calendar/?park_id=127
- Northwest Trek Wildlife Park citizen science programs: nwtrek.org/discover/citizenscience
STEILACOOM STUDENTS RANK NATIONALLY IN FRENCH CONTEST
Twenty Steilacoom High School students ranked nationally in the 83rd annual Grand Concours, the National French Contest, according to Lisa Narug, National Director of the contest. Students who ranked nationally will receive Honorable Mention certificates, Bronze, Silver, or Gold awards for their performance on this nationally ranked exam. Le Grand Concours is a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). Students were evaluated for their written, oral and listening comprehension skills in French. More than 75,000 students in all 50 states competed in the 2018 event. Steilacoom High students who ranked nationally are Honorable Mention recipients Victoria Coglianese, Kyla Eastman, Amir Jumper, Cameron Mendoza, Madeleine Metzger, Gretl Raschke, Zoe Snider, Hayden Campbell, Cynthia Smith, Joann Smith, Nicole Lago, Megan Murphy, Cheyenne Phipps, and Trang Vo. Bronze Medal Recipients include: Jaminfaye Reduque, Audrey Snedecor, and Ivan Wilson. Silver Medalists are Emma-Leigh Fernando and Tiffany Mendoza. A Gold Medal will be awarded to Tatiana Neufeld who placed in the 95th percentile nationally. All are students of Mrs. Roberta Black.
AATF President Catherine Danièlou commented that French students who rank nationally in Le Grand Concours demonstrate a superior level of global responsibility, integrative cultural competence, language skills, and commitment to excellence and dedication. They significantly increase their community’s international profile. Their French teachers, whom they honor, work hard to produce responsible world citizens with multilingual capabilities. Le Grand Concours participants and winners all embrace an appreciation for other cultures, strive to continually learn and improve, and value the study of French. We are very proud of them and admire their commitment to both contributing to a better world and serving as exceptional ambassadors for their schools. Congratulations to these fine scholars!
For more information about the National French Contest, visit www.frenchteachers.org/concours.