City Hall News: Tacoma’s Auto Row, cop cars for sale, and open space land donation

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

On Tuesday morning, Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee will meet to be briefed on Puget Sound Regional Council’s Regional Economic Strategy, a five-year-plan for the central Puget Sound region, as well as the Prosperity Partnership, a coalition of more than 300 government, business, labor and community organizations dedicated to improving long-tern economic prosperity for the central Puget Sound Region. Also during that meeting, the Tacoma Arts Commission will recap its activities last year and outline its plans for this year.

Also on Tuesday, Tacoma City Council will hold its regular weekly study session at noon to receive updates on legislative activities in Olympia and proposed changes to the permitting process for temporary homeless camps, and its regular weekly council meeting at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday afternoon, Tacoma City Council’s Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee is scheduled to meet.

Finally, on Thursday afternoon, Tacoma City Council’s Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee will meet to hear reports from the Tacoma Human Rights Commission and the Tacoma Area Commission on Disabilities. The committee will also learn more about the findings of a feasibility study to create a community center on Tacoma’s East Side.

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

TACOMA’S AUTO ROW

Following up on an item first reported last week in the Tacoma Daily Index, a 43-block stretch of South Tacoma Way could soon be re-named “Tacoma’s Auto Row.”

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution next week that would officially create the designation for busy South Tacoma Way, between South 37th Street and South 80th Street, in an effort to allow auto dealers to better promote the commercial district as a regional auto-buying hub and hopefully increase sales of automobiles. The move would also allow the automobile dealers to submit an application to the Washington State Department of Transportation to place signage along Interstate 5 directing travelers to Tacoma’s Auto Row. The bulk of Tacoma’s auto dealers are located on South Tacoma Way because it was the main north-south corridor through Tacoma until Interstate 5 was built in 1960. City of Tacoma staff report automobile dealers along South Tacoma Way create over 1,000 jobs and generate significant tax revenue for the City of Tacoma’s General Fund.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution during its meeting on Tues., March 25, at 5 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., First Floor, in downtown Tacoma. More information is available online here and here.

3 COP CARS FOR A STEAL?

The City of Tacoma has put three former police cars up for sale. To be sure, the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor sedans have seen better days, judging by photos of the salvage vehicles. The City places the value of each vehicle at $200. One 2011 vehicle has 17,939 miles, and two 2003 vehicles have 134,348 miles and 113,480 miles. Offers are due by Weds., April 2. More information is available online here and here and here and here.

$3M GRANT REQUEST FOR PORT OF TACOMA ROAD REHAB

The City of Tacoma has applied for a $3 million grant administered by the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board to help pay for the Port of Tacoma Road Rehabilitation Project.

According to City of Tacoma officials, the Port of Tacoma Road is in poor condition and needs to be rebuilt from the base up. The road is the major heavy-haul arterial serving the Port of Tacoma, which means this opportunity to replace existing asphalt pavement with concrete will be an important step toward helping it to withstand heavy truck traffic in the future.

The project will replace approximately 7,800 feet of the road, from East 11th Street to Marshall Avenue. In addition to the rebuilt road, the Port of Tacoma Road project will also improve pedestrian access by completing missing segments of sidewalk to meet current ADA standards. Other safety improvements include a permanent traffic signal in advance of a future traffic notification system.

The City of Tacoma and Port of Tacoma are partnering on this project and have obtained grant funds to cover more than 86 percent of the $496,000 project design cost. The City of Tacoma held an open house in January to share information about the project with area property owners and businesses.

The Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board grant requires the City of Tacoma to provide a $500,000 match, which is earmarked in the current budget, according to City of Tacoma officials.

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SOUTH SOUND SUSTAINABILITY EXPO STATS

The attendance figures are in for the 7th Annual South Sound Sustainability Expo, which was held on Sat., March 1, at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center in downtown Tacoma. The public event aims to provide area residents and business owners a place to discover services, products, companies, and agencies that address sustainability needs in the community.

According to City of Tacoma Sustainability Manager Kristi Lynett, 950 people attended the South Sound Sustainability Expo (up from 650 attendees last year), with more than 670 people attending the event for the first time; 40 per cent of the attendees lived in Tacoma, 35 per cent lived in Pierce County, and 25 per cent were drawn to the expo from outside of Tacoma and Pierce County; and more than 200 kids participated in family activities such as Kid’s Corner, T-shirt screen printing, and art projects. More information is available online at southsoundsustainabilityexpo.org.

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OPEN SPACE LAND DONATION

Looking ahead, Tacoma City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote next month on a resolution to accept the donation of a 108,900 square-foot parcel of property located at 4317 Marine View Drive in Northeast Tacoma from Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Ellison in support of the City of Tacoma’s open space program.