City Hall News: BIA contract renewal, Alder Lake boat launch project, and Tacoma’s Auto Row District

Tacoma residents will have plenty of opportunities next week to learn more about what’s happening in city government.

Tacoma City Council’s Neighborhoods and Housing Committee will meet on Monday afternoon to discuss the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority and the permitting process for temporary homeless camps.

On Tuesday, Tacoma City Council will hold its regular weekly study session at noon, its every-other-week committee of the whole meeting at 3 p.m., and regular weekly council meeting at 5 p.m.

Tacoma City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss a potential franchise agreement with Level 3 Telecom and a strategic assessment of Tacoma’s SAP information system.

Here is a look ahead at some notable meetings, events, and issues on deck next week at Tacoma City Hall.

BIA CONTRACT RENEWAL

As first reported earlier this month in the Tacoma Daily Index, Tacoma City Council is scheduled to hear the first reading of an ordinance that would renew the City of Tacoma’s agreement with the Business Improvement Area (BIA) to provide a variety of services in Tacoma’s primary commercial area.

The BIA is funded through a self-imposed assessment of property owners within an 84-block area that runs from South 7th Street to South 21st Street and ‘A’ Street west to Court ‘D.’ The BIA, which was established in 1988, provides common services for property owners and is an advocate for the general economic well being of downtown property owners. It provides services such as security patrols on bicycles; support for the Tacoma Police Department; coordination of downtown security officers; an e-mail alert system for downtown property owners and managers; pressure washing, sweeping, and cleaning of sidewalks and other common areas; installation of street bannersgraffiti removal; providing timely information for potential investors; and overseeing Web sites and regular print publications that promote downtown Tacoma.

Councilmembers will hear the first reading of the ordinance — which would continue the BIA for the 27th year; provide for the levy of assessments and other projected income in the amount of $829,364; and approve the seventh year of the renewed BIA work plan, budget, and assessment rates — during their meeting on Tues., March 18, at 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 747 Market Street, First Floor. The meeting will be broadcast live on tvtacoma.com. A copy of the agenda is available online here and here.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of downtown Tacoma’s Business Improvement Area, click on the following links:

Downtown Tacoma BIA bike patrol officers Sarah Kirkman and John Leitheiser carefully make their way beneath I-705. They regularly inspect the area for homeless encampments. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

Downtown Tacoma BIA bike patrol officers Sarah Kirkman and John Leitheiser carefully make their way beneath I-705. They regularly inspect the area for homeless encampments. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

MCMENAMIN’S BIA EXPANSION PUBLIC HEARING

Also BIA-related, the City of Tacoma will hold a public hearing next week to consider changing the boundaries of the BIA to include the future McMenamin’s Elks Lodge brewery and hotel. Washington State law allows the BIA footprint to be expanded, but only after more than 50 per cent of property owners within the proposed area of expansion show their support, and after a public hearing is scheduled. According to City of Tacoma staff, McMenamin’s, which owns four parcels of land (most notably, the former Elks Lodge at 565 Broadway) within the proposed expansion area, has asked to participate in the downtown Tacoma BIA. The public hearing will be held on Tues., March 18, at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 747 Market Street, First Floor.

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CDBG / ESG FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS

Tacoma City Council will meet Tuesday at City Hall to discuss funding priorities for two federally-funded grant programs.

Each year, the City of Tacoma receives federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding, as well as HOME Investment Partnership grant funding, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are used for a variety of housing, community and economic development, and human services activities.

On Tuesday, staff from the City of Tacoma’s Community and Economic Development Department and Neighborhood and Community Services Department will provide councilmembers with a presentation on funding recommendations for CDBG and ESG programs.

Also on the agenda Tuesday, Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) staff will brief councilmembers and TPU boardmembers on technology and market impacts on municipal communication networks, such as Click! Cable TV. In addition, TPU staff will provide information related to franchise agreements with municipalities.

Councilmembers will discuss these items during a study session, which will be held on Tues., March 18 at 12 p.m., in Room 16 of Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St. Audio from the meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and online at tvtacoma.com. On-demand audio archives are available on the Web within 24 hours of the meeting online at tvtacoma.com. A copy of the agenda is available online here.

ALDER LAKE BOAT LAUNCH REPLACEMENT PROJECT

The City of Tacoma issued a request for bids this week to replace the boat launch dock at Tacoma Power’s Alder Lake Park, which is located at 50324 School Road, in Eatonville, Wash. According to bid documents, the project calls for the demolition and removal of the existing dock system, and the installation of a new dock and gangway ramp. A pre-bid meeting will be held on Weds., March 19, at 10:30 a.m., at the Nisqually Project Office, 46502 Mountain Highway East, in LaGrande, Wash. 98348. The deadline to submit bids expires on Fri., March 28, at 11 a.m. More information is available online here.

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SOUTH TACOMA WAY ‘AUTO ROW’

Looking ahead, Tacoma City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote later this month on a resolution that would officially designate a commercial district along South Tacoma Way as “Tacoma’s Auto Row.” The move would allow automobile dealers the ability to submit an application to the Washington State Department of Transportation for directional signage on Interstate 5. Councilmembers are scheduled to discuss the issue during their Committee of the Whole meeting on Tues., March 18, at 3 p.m., at Tacoma City Hall, 747 Market St., 9th Floor Visibility Center, in downtown Tacoma.