Upper Tacoma vs. Hilltop: City poised to change business district name

Tacoma City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would officially change the “Upper Tacoma Business District” to the “Hilltop Business District.”

Documents supporting the resolution, which is being sponsored by Deputy Mayor Lauren Walker, indicate the “Upper Tacoma” name dates back 20 years, when the City’s Neighborhood Business District program was finalized. At that time, the “K” Street Boosters came up with the name “Upper Tacoma,” which also serves to identify the area along Martin Luther King Jr. Way between South 9th Street and South 15th Street.

“In recent years the Hilltop Community including the Central Neighborhood Council, Hilltop Action Coalition, Upper Tacoma Business District Association and various residents, property owners and business owners, have all requested that the City of Tacoma formally recognize the neighborhood business district as the ‘Hilltop Business District,’” wrote Carol Wolfe, a community development specialist at City Hall, in a request for the resolution prepared last month. “Hilltop community members are proud of their residential and business community and want to show it through a formal recognition of their historical name.”

Indeed, in a Nov. 9 letter to interim City Manager Rey Arellano, Tacoma’s community and economic development director Ryan Petty noted, “The Hilltop Business District Association communicated to both the Central Neighborhood Council and the Hilltop Action Coalition in writing and requested feedback on their desired name change and made informal inquiries to neighborhood groups and other community stakeholders. In each instance they received only positive feedback and in many cases the comment was ‘Well, it is about time!’”

On June 29, the Hilltop Business Association wrote a letter to City Hall requesting the name change.

“The Upper Tacoma Business Association, based on vote of simple majority of members, changed our name to the Hilltop Business Association,” wrote Eric Crittendon, President of the Hilltop Business Association. “This name change was to restore our alignment with the historic name and character of the unique community which we work and live in. We have gained the vocal support of each neighborhood council; New Tacoma Neighborhood Council and Central Neighborhood Council and have received the vocal support of the Hilltop Action Coalition and unanimous support from our members and other community stakeholders. This letter is to request that our district name in the Neighborhood Business District Program, as well as all other City of Tacoma references, be changed to the ‘Hilltop Business District’ to further reflect our name change. We thank you for your assistance in this matter and in determining the actions we must take at this point to have the aforementioned adjustment properly recorded.”

If the resolution is approved, visitors to the neighborhood would notice the name change reflected in new banners that will be installed throughout the area.

Tacoma City Council will vote on the resolution during its weekly meeting on Tues., Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 747 Market Street, First Floor. For a copy of the agenda and meeting materials, visit http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/cityclerk/Files/CityCouncil/Agendas/2011-FullAgendas/Full20111115.pdf .

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Upper Tacoma or Hilltop? Resolution could officially change Tacoma business district’s name — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2061946&more=0