First phase complete on Sprague Avenue enhancement project

Tacoma's Sprague Avenue gateway has a new look with the completion of the first phase of the Sprague enhancement project....

Tacoma’s Sprague Avenue gateway has a new look with the completion of the first phase of the Sprague enhancement project. The Tacoma entry from Highway 16 has landscape improvements and better separation between South Sprague Avenue and the adjacent residential street known as residential Sprague.

Stormwater runoff from the 0.63 acres of arterial roadway will now be filtered with bio-retention rain gardens. Nearly half an acre is enhanced with landscaping that will improve the City’s tree canopy, adding more than 200 new trees and reducing rainwater runoff into the Thea Foss watershed. In addition, a new median has been constructed on South Sprague Avenue to provide traffic calming near the new neighborhood gateway sign.

In 2009, the Sprague enhancement project became an initiative of the Central Neighborhood Council and other neighbors after the Washington State Department of Transportation vacated the area and re-opened the freeway entrance to Highway 16. The neighborhood council worked collaboratively with the City of Tacoma and a neighborhood steering committee to find funding and determine project objectives, priorities, needs and design.

The steering committee quickly recognized they should focus on the east side of Sprague. The neighborhood council plans to continue working with stakeholders to find additional funding and resources for enhancement of residential Sprague and the west side of South Sprague Avenue. This will be Phase II of the current project.

“The neighbors in this area have been looking at this eyesore for many years and the Central Neighborhood Council felt it was time to engage all parties and help. I greatly appreciate the collaboration with the City, Washington State Department of Transportation, neighbors and the design team to accomplish what we see today, especially in these hard economic times,” said Justin Leighton, chair of Tacoma’s Central Neighborhood Council.

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