Three-dozen projects throughout Tacoma will receive nearly $220,000 in innovative grant funding as a result of recommendations made by the city’s eight neighborhood councils.
The recommendations approved by Tacoma City Council Tuesday direct $39,000 to the Central Neighborhood Council for five projects; $25,000 to the Eastside Neighborhood Council for four projects; $19,915 to the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council for four projects; $20,473 to the North End Neighborhood Council for four projects; $24,500 to the Northeast Tacoma Neighborhood Council for four projects; $32,827.45 to the South End Neighborhood Council for five projects; $26,174 to the South Tacoma Neighborhood Council for four projects; and $31,000 to the West End Neighborhood Council for six projects.
In total, $218,889.45 will be distributed for 36 projects.
Gas Station Park in Tacoma’s South End is poised to receive $21,486 to completely overhaul the park. The 14,000 square foot park opened to much fanfare four years ago after the city and the neighborhood council partnered to buy the land (formerly the site of Franco’s Oil gas station) from Pierce County, then raised money to turn the property into a neighborhood park. Last year, however, Metro Parks Tacoma and the city’s public works department completed a condition assessment report that showed a long list of safety issues. The innovative grant funding will be used to underlay the park with wood shavings, install a new border and ADA ramp, and purchase and install new playground equipment.
Other notable projects slated for grant funding include $3,415 for improvements to 8th and I Park that include new bushes, a mural, message center and bike rack; $7,500 for “Flourish MLK,” a plan that would paint miniature murals on planters along Martin Luther King Jr Way between South Sixth Street and South 19th Street; $2,600 for a sidewalk wayfinding “Compass Rose” near the Washington State History Museum plaza downtown that will direct visitors to cultural attractions; and $4,500 for improvements to the Northern Loop Trail access at Julia’s Gulch.
“The program has improved public safety and made the North End a more attractive, livable place,” said North End Neighborhood Council Chair Kyle Price during a public comment period of the meeting Tuesday at City Hall. “I am just here tonight to say thank you for your support of the program over the years. In the grand scheme of things, it is not a lot of money, but the grants have made a very positive difference in the lives of many people.”
The innovative grant program uses community development bock grant funding and real estate excise tax revenue to fund small capital projects in neighborhoods in order to benefit the public by removing blight, according to city officials. Applications are submitted to the eight neighborhood councils, which evaluate the proposals and forward their recommendations to city staff. The recommendations are then presented to city council for final approval.