Downtown gets makeover in time for Tall Ships

Crews are completing installation of bright new banners being hung on arterials in Tacoma’s downtown business district. The Banner Program is part of a multi-agency partnership to support retail growth and prepare for the arrival of thousands of visitors for the Tall Ships Festival July 1-4.

The Local Development Counsel (LDC), a non-profit corporation operated by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber that administers the downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA), contracts with the City of Tacoma to manage the downtown banner program as part of the Retail Transformations initiative recommended in 2004 by consultant Paula Rees of Seattle. The LDC sponsors the new banners and its program, which is designed to enhance the appearance of downtown’s streetscape. The program calls attention to community activities, institutions or events capitalizing on renewed public and private investment in Tacoma’s urban center while helping downtown Tacoma visitors find their way by reference to elements of color and design.

The LDC has recently been replacing temporary hanging equipment with new banner arms matching the historic replica light poles along Pacific Ave. Two artists-Ellensburg artist and Central Washington University adjunct faculty member Chris Hinrichs and Portland artist Fred Ingram-were commissioned by the group to create the designs for the “first round” of banners.

Downtown’s streetscape is also being spruced up with hanging flower baskets, sidewalk planting tubs and new directional signage also funded by the LDC and the Thea Foss Owners Association.