Resolution would OK grant application for open space funding

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote later this month on a request by City staff to submit a grant application that would help increase the amount of open space in South Tacoma.

The application requests $500,000 from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s (WWRP’s) Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) to expand the total area in conservation status, enhance habitat connectivity and function, and increase the potential for public access and enjoyment of the habitat corridor. The area, located near South 52nd Street and South Mullen Street, is part of a city-designated “habitat corridor” and has high open space value, both as forested land and as one of the largest remaining wetland systems in Tacoma. The specific parcels to be acquired will be determined based upon consideration of habitat quality and the willingness of property owners to sell.

“RCO’s WWRP program provides Tacoma with a unique opportunity to leverage our progress to date,” wrote City of Tacoma Associate Planner Elliott Barnett in documents supporting the resolution. “RCO allows the previous City and County expenditures to meet the required local match for the current proposed acquisition(s) (approximately $1.6 million in previous expenditures is eligible to be utilized as match at this time). Should the City’s application be successful, the City would not be required to provide the 50 percent local match that would otherwise be required under this grant program; the additional City expenditures would be limited to potential property research and transaction costs.”

The deadline for the application was May 1. But an extension was granted so City Council could approve the grant application, Barnett told the Tacoma Daily Index on Wednesday. “Meanwhile, we did submit the rest of the application materials by May 1,” added Barnett.

Grant recipients will be announced in June 2013.

More information about the City of Tacoma’s open space habitat and recreation plan is online here. More information about WWRP / RCO is online here.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution during its meeting on Tues., May 22 at 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, located 747 Market Street. Meetings are streamed live online at and broadcast live on TV Tacoma. More information is available online here.

Tacoma habitat corridor. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)