The City of Tacoma will revisit design elements and solicit new bids for a Local Improvement District that would improve infrastructure and street aesthetics in the Broadway-St. Helens neighborhood downtown, according to discussion Tuesday during the city council’s study session.
It’s the latest chapter in an on-again, off-again project that would time much needed sewer, water, and storm water upgrades with street improvements that include new sidewalks, landscaping, streetlights, and painted lanes directing two-way traffic along a section of Broadway.
In August, a straw poll of area property owners showed support for the $14 million project, but City Council voted against moving forward on the project in favor of developing a consistent policy for creating LIDs citywide because of controversy between feuding property owners.
In 2006, owners of 246 parcels in the LID narrowly rejected a plan to pay $3.9 million for the aesthetic improvements. But LID supporters argued that votes were weighted based upon assessed property value. They argued that the votes of property owners with more property in the LID carried more weight. As such, according to City staff, last year’s vote showed approximately 51 percent opposed the LID; however, approximately 65 percent of parcel owners (160 parcel owners) supported the LID, and approximately 35 percent (86 parcel owners) opposed it. As a result, on April 18, 2006, City Council voted 6-3 to overrule property owners and form the LID.
Since 2004, however, when the original estimate was completed, the project cost has climbed, and property owners now face a $5.8 million bill for their share of improvements.
On Tuesday, assistant public works director Karen Larkin laid out a timeline for the LID. On Oct. 25, the City will host a meeting to gather input from property owners on ways to reduce overall costs of the project and restructure the bid. In December, the City will advertise bids for the project. City Council will consider awarding a bid in February 2008.
For more information on the LID, visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?nid=629