Voices heard in support of Hilltop Tacoma name change

On Tuesday, Tacoma City Council approved a resolution that officially changed the “Upper Tacoma Business District” to the “Hilltop Business District.” Documents supporting the resolution, which was sponsored by Deputy Mayor Lauren Walker, indicated 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. According to City Hall staff, Hilltop community members requested the name change because they were “proud of their residential and business community and wanted to show it through a formal recognition of their historical name.” Before City Council approved the resolution, several people testified in support of the name change. Here are some of those public comments.

Eric Crittendon, Hilltop Business Association President

I’m honored and very proud to be here as the president of the Hilltop Business Association representing the district in regards to this resolution changing the name from the Upper Tacoma Business District to the Hilltop Business District. While to some this may seem like an insignificant thing amongst the other current issues facing our city, and while it may not lead to any immediate impact or increase business in Hilltop, what it will do is restore a sense of pride in our district about who and where we are. It will bring back a cohesiveness between the district and the Hilltop community that seems to have been missing for quite sometime. The Hilltop Business Association has made some great strides in the past few years preparing for this day, with a new set of bylaws that I would say would rival the best districts out there. We have a new Facebook page that I would encourage everyone to “Like” so they can keep up with all that’s going on on the hill. We just recently completed the design for our streetlight banners that are currently being installed. I would like to add that this banner project came about as an innovative grant provided by the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council, so I wanted to publicly thank them. We’ve just begun construction of a new Web site, which can be found at http://www.hilltopbusinessdistrict.com . Lastly, this name change will save myself and future presidents the agonizing pain of using the name Upper Tacoma and having to explain where that is. People near and far have heard of the name Hilltop. As one whose family has been in the Hilltop for over 50 years, I’m honored and proud to be here and to be a part of the history and continued success.

Greg Hopkins, Hilltop Action Coalition President

The Hilltop Action Coalition strongly endorses this. We participated in this process, we’re a part of the business district, and we’re actually very excited that we’re kind of returning to our roots with this. We want to be known as the Hilltop, that’s who we are and that’s where we’re at, so thank you for your consideration on this resolution.

Lauren Walker, Tacoma Deputy Mayor

This resolution makes me very happy. I’ve lived in the Hilltop for over 20 years. It was about 20 years ago that there were leaders in the community who hijacked our name. We love living in the Hilltop, we’re proud of living in the Hilltop, and all of sudden there was this renaming to Upper Tacoma because of the image of our community that we were working so hard on to love and to get other people to love along with us. So when this proposal came forward, I was very happy to see that we are finally taking back our name as it connects with our love for the community. I want to thank Eric and the leadership of the Hilltop Action Coalition and the Hilltop Business Association, and also the staff for loving the Hilltop as much as we do.

Marty Campbell, Tacoma City Councilmember

When I first moved to Tacoma, I’d hear some people say it’s the Hilltop, it’s Upper Tacoma, so I would get these conflicting directions as to where you should go. I went through the same problem that Eric went through. People in Tacoma know what the neighborhood is called. I’m so glad to see us coming back to the name it should be called, which is the Hilltop Business District, which many of us call it that instinctively. I want to thank the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council for stepping up and funding the banners that will be out there promoting the name change. I think that’s great. Congratulations, guys.

Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma Mayor

I will finally say that I’m very supportive of reclaiming the name Hilltop. Whatever it was called before, I’ve always called it that neighborhood. It’s where my father got his haircut, it’s where we went to church, it’s where we spent time shopping when I was a kid. So the corner of MLK and Earnest Brazil should reside in the Hilltop neighborhood.

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Hilltop Tacoma: A neighborhood gives a nod to its historic name (11/16/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2070946&more=0

Upper Tacoma vs. Hilltop: City poised to change business district name (11/14/11) — http://tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2068831&more=0

Upper Tacoma or Hilltop? Resolution could officially change Tacoma business district’s name (11/01/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2061946&more=0