Open house offers early peek at Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project

The City of Tacoma hosted an open house Thursday to discuss the $4 million Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project, which aims to bring major improvements to a busy neighborhood centered at South 38th Street and South Yakima Avenue in Tacoma.

“We want to hear from you so that we can successfully implement this beautiful project,” City of Tacoma Assistant City Manager Mark Lauzier told neighborhood residents and business owners during the open house held at Jubilee Hamburger Restaurant. “This is really about seeking your input, hearing your ideas, and making this a successful project.”

Open house attendees viewed conceptual designs and learned more about the proposed project schedule, while a team of City staff solicited feedback from visitors. According to City staff, the streetscape design is 30 per cent complete, and expected to finalized by the end of this year. The project is tentatively scheduled to go out for bid in January 2016, and a contract is expected to be awarded in March 2016. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in May 2016 and wrap up in September 2016.

“Our goals are safety, improve the infrastructure, and make it a place that people want to come to and meet for dinner, shop, and meet with other people,” said City of Tacoma Project Manager Tom Rutherford.

As part of the project, the City plans to commission an artist to create gateways to the neighborhood. A committee of local stakeholders is tentatively scheduled to select an artist in September. The artist will then conduct research and engage the community before developing a proposal by early next year. The artwork will be created and installed in line with the final construction schedule for the overall Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project.

“I think that’s one of the ways to get a flavor for the community—through the gateways,” added Rutherford.

The City will host a larger open house on Thurs., Aug. 20, between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., at Lincoln High School, located at 701 S. 37th St., in Tacoma (note: the meeting location has changed; see below). During that meeting, conceptual designs for the project are expected to be 60 per cent complete. In addition, City staff will join representatives from the Police Department and the Fire Department to discuss issues beyond neighborhood streetscape improvements, such as public safety initiatives.

“When the City Council, back in 2014, said we need the revitalization of the Lincoln Business District to be a priority, in the budget that fall we put our money where our mouth was,” said Tacoma City Councilmember Marty Campbell, whose council district includes the Lincoln International Business District. “The entire City Council is supportive of lifting up not only this district, not only this street, but the whole neighborhood. Yes, we are talking about the streetscape today down 38th and Yakima. But we also want to make sure that the neighborhood—many blocks in every direction—are also being looked at. That it’s not just a simple, ‘Look, we did something good down the main street and we feel good.’ It’s much bigger than that.”

The open house this week was the latest activity in a series of events so far this year that have focused on improvements to the neighborhood.

In March, the City spent approximately $125,000 to replace 31 ornamental street lights (as well as 20 standard street lights) with similar-looking, eco-friendly light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs (see “LED street lights coming to Tacoma’s Lincoln International Business District,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 2, 2015). Similarly, a neighborhood group is working with Safe Streets to claim the salvaged, iconic street lights in the hope of eventually auctioning them off to raise money to help pay for a small-scale neighborhood improvement project (see “Surplus Lincoln District street lamps could fund neighborhood improvement projects,” Tacoma Daily Index, May 7, 2015). Last month, Tacoma City Council discussed the Lincoln District Revitalization Project during a study session at Tacoma City Hall (a slide show presentation from the meeting is available online here; an audio recording of the meeting is available online here).

UPDATE | WEDS., JULY 1 @ 9:30 A.M. – Spotted in the City of Tacoma’s conceptual design for the Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project . . . What has four thumbs and is super excited about the proposed revamp? These guys!

070115_lincoln_district_a_web

070115_lincoln_district_b_web

Maybe they can hang out with Darth Vader when the new downtown Tacoma convention center hotel is built.

123014_downtown_hotel_vader_b

UPDATE | FRI., JULY 24 @ 1:15 P.M. – A few updates to note . . .

First, the City of Tacoma has created a Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project Web site. It is online here.

Second, according to their Web site, the meeting location for the next open house has changed from the Lincoln High School Cafeteria to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Auditorium:

072415_lincoln_district_open_house_web

Third, the City has posted some new design images and slides . . .

Project Overview Map

072415_ldrp_a_web

Project Cross Section View

072415_ldrp_b_web

Streetscape Project Funding

072415_ldrp_c_web

Tentative Streetscape Project Schedule

072415_ldrp_d_web

NOTE: An earlier version of this article referred to the Lincoln District being located on Tacoma’s East Side. Tacoma’s Cross District Association refers to the Lincoln District being located on Tacoma’s East side (“Lincoln is known as Tacoma’s international district where neighborhood grocers, specialty retailers and restaurants are proud to bring a taste of the Far East to Tacoma’s east side.”). However, the City of Tacoma’s Eastside Neighborhood Council puts the district outside of their boundary. We’ve updated the article to reflect the City’s designation. But feel free to debate the issue in the comments below.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Tacoma’s Lincoln International Business District, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and author of A Reporter At Large and Wah Mee. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.