Tacoma seeks artists for Prairie Line Trail

The City of Tacoma invites experienced artists, creative teams, and/or art consultants to submit their qualifications for a chance to develop a public art plan for the half-mile, two acre Prairie Line Trail. The trail is a historic rail corridor connecting downtown Tacoma’s significant recreational, cultural and educational destinations to its urban waterfront.

The project budget is $30,000 and is supported in part by a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

“The Prairie Line Trail will be a vital component to our culturally vibrant downtown,” said Amy McBride, City of Tacoma Arts Administrator. “The NEA’s support will insure that public art plays an instrumental role in defining the trail’s identity.”

The public art plan will reflect community input and identify opportunities and recommend locations for integrated public artworks, site-specific permanent public art, and ephemeral temporary art and performance. The public art plan and demonstration project must be completed by July 31, 2011.

The Prairie Line Trail travels through the historic Brewery District, the University of Washington-Tacoma campus, past the Tacoma Art Museum, and down to the Thea Foss Waterway — strengthening an important connection between downtown and the waterfront.

Applicants are required to reside in the United States. The deadline for applications is Mon., Feb. 28, 2011. For the complete prospectus and how to apply, visit http://www.tacomaculture.org/arts/opportunities.asp .

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City of Tacoma seeks artists to design bike racks for Prairie Line Trail (01/12/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1906639&more=0

City, railroad deal could open downtown Prairie Line trail (06/19/08)

By Todd Matthews

A former railroad line that runs through the University of Washington Tacoma campus and down to Tacoma’s waterfront could be converted into a trail for bikes and pedestrians traveling between South Tacoma and the city’s central business district, according to a development deal presently being considered by the City of Tacoma and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway.

The plan, however, is contingent upon two variables.

First, a $120-million deal underway between BNSF and ProLogis, a Denver-based company that wants to purchase a 157-acre parcel from the railroad company in order to build its 1.9-million-square-foot distribution center. The deal would also require some cooperation from the city, which owns land in an area that would serve as the distribution center’s north access.

Second, BNSF has said it will donate a 20-foot easement of the former Prairie Line, which runs between South 27th and South 15th Street, and crosses Pacific Avenue downtown, if the city will agree to permanently close a portion of A Street, near South 22nd and Dock Streets, in order to create a five-mile continuous rail cargo link between the Port of Tacoma, downtown, and Ruston.

For years, the city has asked BNSF to donate the former railroad line in order to create a connection to the Water Ditch Trail and Scott Pierson Trail, but has not been successful. On Tuesday, a BNSF spokesperson said the railroad company hoped to reach an agreement with the City and ProLogis soon.

“We want to make sure we complete this transaction before we lose traction and it fades away,” said BNSF spokesperson James A. Ball during Tuesday’s meeting.

“This is huge, getting the property donated,” said Tacoma City Councilmember Connie Ladenburg, who spoke during Tuesday’s meeting. “I’ll venture to guess this does not happen often.”

Still, several councilmembers were concerned about the impact of permanently closing A Street.

But City of Tacoma Economic Development Director Ryan Petty noted that Sound Transit already plans to permanently close A Street near 25th Street in order to make way for a future connection to South Tacoma. “It will not be the one-shot thoroughfare it has been in the past,” said Petty. He also added that public safety along A Street, near South 22nd and Dock Streets, has been a concern for more than a decade, as pedestrians and cars navigate heavy freight traffic.

A public meeting was held during Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting.

Foss Waterway Association president Ted Johnson told councilmembers he was concerned closing A Street would make it more difficult for visitors to access the downtown waterfront.

Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce president David W. Graybill was also concerned about the A Street closure, but added that he supported the economic benefit of the ProLogis development plan.

University of Washington Tacoma spokesperson Mike Wark told councilmembers the university supported opening the Prairie Line to bicyclists and pedestrians. “We support the project as an amenity for our students and the community,” said Wark.