Ideas abound for Cheney Stadium, Foss High area development

A design and architecture firm hired by the Joint Municipal Action Committee (JMAC) to gauge residents and property owners on development potential for an 111-acre area near South 19th and Tyler Streets said Tuesday Tacomans would like to see more greenspace amenities and improved pedestrian safety features for visitors to the area.

The comments were among dozens collected during a four-month study conducted by BCRA Design. The firm met with JMAC members — which include representatives from the City, Pierce County, Metro Parks, and the Tacoma School District — as well as property owners on the site — Pacific Harbors Council / Boy Scouts of America, Tacoma Rainiers, Washington State Department of Transportation — and approximately 60 Tacoma residents.

The study is the first phase of a larger plan to determine the future of the area, and includes a site analysis and stakeholder assessment.

According to BCRA Design principal Stuart Young, future development of the property could be broken into two categories — near-term and long-term.

On the near-term front, Young said Tacomans would like to see more pathways and trails for pedestrians, wayfinding signs, improved public accessibility, and landscape enhancements.

According to Metro Parks Executive Director Jack Wilson, approximately $500,000 of an $80 million bond measure recently approved by voters for parks improvements could be used for these short-term projects. They could also be rolled out in the fall.

In the long-term, however, the area could see development such as one or more mixed-use, multi-story residential-and-retail projects. “[You could] concentrate development in the obvious areas,” said Young, referring to an expansive surface parking lot that serves Foss High School and Cheney Stadium. However, it would require a comprehensive plan amendment to allow for that type of development. Also, funding for such a project would need to be identified, according to Young.

Tuesday’s update follows a similar meeting in February when Pierce County Executive John W. Ladenburg told JMAC members that the area was “ripe for a master plan.”

Ladenburg envisioned a “recreational, active lifestyle village” that could also be home to a new mass-transit center. “There’s a lot of possibility on this site. This is worthy of a good look.”

The development idea comes at a time when speculation has loomed over the future of the 48-year-old Cheney Stadium, which is jointly owned by the City and County. According to Tacoma public facilities director Mike Combs, the baseball team’s lease expires this year. However, the team is expected to renew its lease and stay in Tacoma. Last year, the Legislature allocated $2.5 million toward stadium renovations. And it appears the City and County are leaning more toward stadium renovations than construction of a new stadium, which could cost as much as $120 million.

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For earlier coverage of this story, visit:

Local governments explore ‘urban village’ concept near Cheney Stadium (02/21/08) —