Anonymous donation aims to bring more street trees to Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood

Visitors to Tacoma’s Hilltop Business District may soon notice an increase in the number of neighborhood street trees.

According to City of Tacoma staff, the “Hilltop Diversitree” project, collaboration made possible through an anonymous donation of $100,000 to the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, and a partnership between the City of Tacoma’s Environmental Services Department and Community and Economic Development Department, aims to plant more than 200 trees throughout an area that centers on South 11th Street and ranges from South 9th Street to South Earnest S. Brazill Street (north to south), and South J Street to South Sheridan Avenue (east to west).

In addition to planting trees such as Triumph elm, Katsura, willow oak, and evergreens, the City of Tacoma plans to build four medians on South 11th Street between South J Street and South Sheridan Avenue in an effort to provide additional locations to grow trees without reducing the amount of available parking, offering more rooting volume than traditional street tree pits, eliminating conflicts between street trees, buildings and signs, and providing traffic calming effects. Elsewhere, trees are proposed to be planted in turf planting strips, as well as existing asphalt planting strips meeting a minimum width of five feet. Dead, damaged or inappropriate trees in the wrong places will be removed and replaced.

According to City of Tacoma staff, the anonymous donor the Donald R. and Mary E. Williams Horticulture Fund has contributed $30,000 for the first three years of maintenance, which includes watering, stake removal (if used) and structural pruning. The City of Tacoma will cover additional costs during that time period. After the first three years, the maintenance of trees not located in medians will be the responsibility of the abutting property owner. Trees located in the medians will be maintained by the City of Tacoma.

“Every effort is being taken in this project to ensure that appropriate trees are planted in the right place and properly cared for during the first three years after planting, and that the continued maintenance for the abutting property owners is minimally burdensome,” noted City of Tacoma Community and Economic Development Department Director Ricardo Noguera in a memo to Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax.

City of Tacoma staff met with members of the Hilltop Business District Association earlier this summer to discuss the project, according to Noguera. City staff plans to meet with area property owners, business owners and other stakeholder group beginning later this month. The City of Tacoma is expected to formally accept the grant and begin the design and bidding process in September. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held in October.

UPDATE: The City of Tacoma has created a Web site for the project. It is online here. Also: the anonymous donation totals $100,000; the additional $30,000 donation comes from the Donald R. and Mary E. Williams Horticulture Fund.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Tacoma’s street trees, urban forest program, and other arbor-related activities, click on the following links: