MONDAY MORNING GROUP HUG >>>
This morning, Tacoma officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project, a beautification and innovative storm water improvement plan that includes new street paving, sidewalks, bicycle lanes and crosswalks along the Pacific Avenue stretch from Old City Hall at Seventh Street to the Tacoma Art Museum at 17th Street.
This is not your Grandfather Sprague's streetscape project.
At the gathering around Fireman's Park just off the north end of the proposed project, Congressman Norm Dicks, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma Councilmember Jake Fey and others explained how improvements will enhance the business opportunities and livability of downtown's core street — the "front porch" of downtown Tacoma – adding new curb, gutter and sidewalks, including a bicycle sharrow, on-street parking, landscaped curb bulb outs, street trees, new transit stops, new street furnishings, lighting, public art and signs to direct visitors to various attractions.
"A brighter downtown will be an incentive for smaller and larger businesses alike to bring more jobs and additional economic activity to this community," Rep. Norm Dicks.
In addition to the beautification, the project will integrate innovative stormwater improvements, including storm water planters, pervious pavement and plantings. The green storm water infrastructure includes 14 new rain gardens, which pass the storm water through organically enriched soil that filters out pollutants and either slows the release of the water into the storm system or percolates it into the ground — before draining into the Thea Foss Waterway.
"We have a great partnership with the Tacoma Art Museum," said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. "We were able to successfully complete a National Endowment for the Arts grant for the 17th Street portion of this project."
As part of the beautification of Pacific Avenue project artist Elizabeth Conner will install green textural tiles in strategic locations along the 10-block stretch of street and 20 to 28 large-scale botanically-themed concrete sculptures that can convey storm water. The “green flash” concept will be integrated into four bus shelters. Green flashes are optical phenomena that occur shortly after sunset on the ocean's horizon.
Also, strings of lights will be strung above Pacific Avenue near Eighth Street to create a bright canopy of lights.
After many years of planning, design work, construction and implementation, the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project received a major boost this summer after $3 million from the state's public works board and $978,300 from the Federal Highways Administration arrived. Combined with $4.4 million in grants and local matches previously secured, the city chose Tucci & Sons, Inc. as the project's contractor.
The project is expected to be completed in December 2013.
Dick McKinley, City of Tacoma Public Works director
Rep. Norm Dicks
Sen. Derek Kilmer
Tom Pierson, president and chief executive officer of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce