A group of urban planners and design specialists from across the country who visited Tacoma earlier this month to discuss development strategies for the city’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Way corridor has released its report online.
The group, which included representatives of the Urban Land Institute and officials from the cities of Hartford, Conn., Louisville, Ky. and Austin, Texas, met with Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and key staff from both the City of Tacoma and Sound Transit to inspect and tour the corridor, which encompasses a stretch of downtown Tacoma real estate bordered by two of the city’s oldest residential and commercial areas — the Stadium neighborhood to the north, and the Hilltop neighborhood along the south.
The group arrived in Tacoma on March 4 and concluded its visit on March 7 with a full presentation of its findings. The group’s conclusions and recommendations include reinforcing the corridor and its connections; continuing to set the table for meaningful development; improving communication between city agencies and community stakeholders; defining a short-term development project at the 11th MLK intersection and organizing around it; and exploring the potential for a development fund, according to their report.
The group also tasked city officials with establishing a Mayor’s Leadership Team; identifying a city point-person for a so-called Hilltop Neighborhood Initiative; generating a list of key tasks to make the area “shovel-ready” for development; evaluating east-west connections to the Hilltop neighborhood; conducting focus group with millenials, students, hospital employees, and residents regarding neighborhood perceptions and interests; and establishing a group to investigate Hilltop neighborhood event opportunities, according to their report.