Foster Neighborhood, Community, and Economic Development Vitality and Sustainability.
The City of Tacoma continues to leverage its resources, community partnerships and in-house expertise to drive economic growth and improve life for residents in Tacoma.
The City of Tacoma successfully closed sale of Site 1 on the Foss Waterway, allowing for its redevelopment, and also negotiated a development agreement for a new hotel in downtown Tacoma. With this development agreement, Yareton Investment and Management LLC is proposing to build a 4-star minimum 300-room hotel with parking adjacent to the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center at 17th Street and Broadway. It is expected to break ground in late 2016.
Coordinating activities surrounding new and expanded development prospects such as State Farm, Bass Pro, Coordinated Care, Holiday Inn Express, the University of Washington Tacoma YMCA, Tacoma Art Museum, Marlene’s and Johnny’s Seafood, the City of Tacoma continues to support Tacoma’s economic growth.
Supportive services were provided by the City of Tacoma for the downtown office expansions of Coordinated Care, First Choice in Home Care and Opus Bank, and the City helped facilitate new residential / mixed use development like The Henry, Point Ruston, Pacifica and The Proctor. Increased employment and more amenities has helped to increase overall quality of life in Tacoma, and fueled the demand for new residential/mixed use projects throughout the city.
Launched in 2010 as a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, the Spaceworks program is designed to activate empty storefronts and vacant spaces in Tacoma with art and creative enterprise. Through the Spaceworks program, the City provided training for 36 creative enterprise projects, placing 19 projects in lease spaces in just 12 months.
Partnering with the University of Washington Tacoma, the City of Tacoma has helped to promote the One Million Cups Movement helping start-ups, existing, expanding and second-tier businesses learn more about what they can do to thrive. The City also sponsored and participated in the Centro Latino Fest, Washington Small Business Fair and the News Tribune Business Expo.
The City of Tacoma is working to encourage the development of multifamily housing in Tacoma’s 17 mixed-use centers, and is offering a property tax exemption of eight or 12 years to eligible property owners for improvements that create four or more additional housing units. In 2014, four projects, for a total of 287 new units, were approved as part of the Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program.
As part of efforts to raise Tacoma’s international profile, our Mayor and other representatives from the City of Tacoma visited Fuzhou, China – one of Tacoma’s Sister Cities – for the Cross Strait Fair for Economy and Trade. Our Mayor and other representatives from the City promoted Tacoma products, spoke with potential investors and met with the Foreign Affairs Office. Other outbound trade missions were also organized by World Trade Center Tacoma, the Department of Commerce and others, and several local businesses participated in these missions.
The City of Tacoma reached out to the auto dealers on South Tacoma Way – an important retail sector – to identify ways to improve the area. Our City Council declared South Tacoma Way, South 27th – South 80th streets, as “Tacoma’s Auto Row” and streetscape improvements will be made in 2015-2016.
Of Tacoma’s 15 Neighborhood Business Districts, the Lincoln and South Tacoma areas were identified as priority focus areas with funding for catalytic projects. In 2014, the City of Tacoma focused on needs assessment and community engagement to identify projects important to each area that will be implemented in the next biennium.
Through its Local Employment Apprenticeship Program (LEAP), the City of Tacoma created 435 jobs in 83 construction projects, and achieved a 17.5 percent LEAP utilization on Public Works projects, which exceeded its goal of 15 percent.
The City of Tacoma also managed an Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields job training program through an agreement with Clover Park Technical College to create 64 jobs for residents in the environmental field.
Working with Small Business Enterprises (SBE’s), the City of Tacoma achieved a 10.5 percent participation in 2014, with value of projects in excess of $11.2 million for the biennium. 143 SBE’s were assisted, with 82 new SBE’s added to the City’s database.
The City of Tacoma Arts Commission provided $395,000 in funding to 64 artists and arts organizations resulting in 26,089 arts and cultural events over the last biennium.
Public Art in 2014
“The Green Flash” by Elizabeth Conner in the Pacific Avenue Streetscape
”TransFORM” by Yuki Nakamura at Bay Terrace (in partnership with Tacoma Housing Authority)
“Manitou Trestle” by Kenji Stoll, Chris Jordan and Claudia Reidener (in partnership with Sound Transit)
“The Hands That Built Tacoma” by Nick Goettling at the base of Murray Morgan Bridge
“Sun King” by Thomas Morandi and Children’s Bell by Larry Anderson (restored and resited)
Six murals transformed chronically vandalized walls in neighborhoods throughout Tacoma including:
Lincoln Business District
Sheridan Street in Hilltop
60th Street and McKinely Avenue
17th Street and Tacoma Avenue
Eighty five first-time homebuyers received assistance from the City of Tacoma through the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority (TCRA). The TCRA also provided funding for 116 new affordable housing units. These units will provide rental housing opportunitites to households earning 60 percent or below of the area’s median income.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The City of Tacoma, through its CDBG sub-recipient agreement with the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority, developed and implemented a Single-Family Blight Abatement Program targeting investments in blighted areas. Through the TCRA, funds were made available to qualified entities for the acquisition and rehabilitation of foreclosed housing in targeted neighborhoods. These houses were then resold to qualified home buyers at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
Since the program’s inception in March 2014, the TCRA has entered into site agreements with and provided two loans on two properties in support of the program. Both properties have been rehabilitated and are currently available for purchase to income eligible home buyers. The proceeds from the sale of each property will be returned to the TCRA as program income and reinvested back into new affordable housing programs.
On the road to meeting its waste diversion goal of 70 percent by 2028, by putting less waste on the road to the landfill in 2014, the City of Tacoma kept an additional 115 tons of mattresses, 53 tons of electronics and 100 tons of cardboard out of the landfill by implementing new recycling programs to help keep valuable resources in use. Giving new life to unwanted items helps meet sustainability goals and helps ratepayers get more value from their services.
Investing in the City’s solid waste fleet is a cost-saving proposition. In fact, the new seven hydraulic hybrid curbside collection trucks purchased in 2014 are estimated to reduce diesel use by 40 percent for each truck. The more fuel efficient trucks will save money and help reduce the City’s carbon footprint by lowering emissions and protecting the environment.
A protective floodwall was installed around the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant through the Flood Protection Project. Approximately 90 percent of the project is done, and the project will reach completion this year. This large scale capital project installed half a mile of floodwalls and six floodgates to shield the treatment plant from floodwaters that could occur from a large scale flooding event associated with the Puyallup River. Prior to the construction of the flood wall, this facility was vulnerable to major flooding events which could have caused a complete failure of the treatment plant and potentially millions of gallons of untreated wastewater being discharged into Commencement Bay for weeks while the facility is repaired. This important facility provides wastewater treatment for approximately 80 percent of Tacoma and its customers in adjacent areas. The cost of this project was almost $8.5 million, with nearly $2.5 million covered in utility customer fees and $6 million in Pierce County Flood Control Zone District funds.
Electrical consumption was reduced at the treatment plant by 14.5 percent, thanks to a focused effort over the past two and a half years by the City of Tacoma to identify and implement potential changes in how the facility is operated with respect to its electrical energy consumption. This reduction has resulted in the consumption of less electrical energy needed per gallon of wastewater treated.
With the completion of the Cheney Stadium Sustainable Stormwater Project, the stadium now offers more parking, new pedestrian walkways and an improved tree canopy, while reducing its paved surface and impacts on stormwater. During this project, the City of Tacoma reached out to thousands of baseball fans all over the Puget Sound to spread the stormwater message by showcasing green infrastructure, and Cheney Stadium is now a model that can be used for many commercial developments. The project went on to receive the Association of Washington Cities award for Making a Difference in the Environment.
The City of Tacoma drafted a plan for right of way improvements in the Lincoln District. While no final improvements have been identified, the plan has helped identify $4.25 million in possible improvements to the Lincoln streetscape within the current biennial budget.
Highlighting the importance of environmental stewardship, the City of Tacoma developed these three sustainability policies in collaboration with the Sustainable Tacoma Commission:
The Sustainable Materials Management Plan was developed to ensure the City achieves its solid waste diversion goal of at least 70 percent by 2028. This means keeping waste out of a landfill, either by reusing, recycling or composting the materials, as well as limiting overall waste in general. The plan includes an update to the 2009 waste characterization study as well as a feasibility study of a Materials Recovery Facility, which is a processing center for materials to be recycled, using both human sorters and automation to separate, sort and package materials for market.
The City of Tacoma is contributing to the Russell Family Foundation’s Puyallup Watershed Initiative by leveraging funds with a $75,000 grant from the national sustainability organization Partnership for Places. The Puyallup Watershed Initiative is a 10-year commitment to work with people in the Puyallup River Watershed area of more than 1,000 square miles marked by dramatic differences in landscapes, demographics and activities, with the goal of supporting the capacity and leadership development of individuals and groups who envision a healthier watershed.
Greenroads is a sustainability ranking system currently used by the City. A Greenroad is defined as a roadway project that is designed and constructed to a level of sustainability that is considerably higher than common practice. Tacoma is a community with the highest concentration of Greenroads certificated in the nation, and this policy provides the tools to help City engineers, directors and elected officials make informed decisions about future road projects with sustainability in mind.
The Green Events Program is an effort to further the vision of the community by reducing the environmental impacts of planned events. Local groups that participate incorporate green initiatives like bike racks and recycling, the use of 100 percent recycled paper, waste reduction, and donation of excess food.
The City of Tacoma received the E3 Washington Green Apple Environmental Education Award for outstanding work by a government agency, by leading the way in environmental sustainability throughout the state.
In June 2014, the City of Tacoma launched its first ever residential trip reduction program to help community members in the Stadium neighborhood, chosen for its high density of residents and amenities, gain access to information about transportation options and reduce drive-alone rates. The program focused on raising awareness of how easy and fun it can be to walk, bike and use public transit when running errands, getting to work or going out just for fun. The Stadium in Motion staff took to the streets delivering personalized information packets to those living in and around the Stadium Business District. Stadium in Motion also worked with local businesses and organizations to put on events, including a bike ride to the Proctor Farmers Market along a stretch of the new 13 miles of bikeways and pedestrian Improvements.
Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods is bringing savings and sustainability to Dometop residents through a combination of knock-and-talk conversations, community meetings, and program events. The City of Tacoma and its partners selected the Dometop neighborhood for its status as an active community, hoping to reinforce progress at the grassroots level, as well as to extend services to historically underserved areas of Tacoma. The partnership combines the resources of 14 partners to connect residents to community, household and environmental health, and savings on everyday expenses. With the help of its partners, a handful of volunteers, and several loosely-affiliated AmeriCorps members, the program team has already spoken to residents at 1,876 addresses and distributed 164 eco-activity to-do lists, 164 TAGRO coupons, 161 tree coupons, 113 free car wash tickets, and 83 reusable bags. This neighborhood program ends in July 2015.
The Tacoma Green Living Guide is an online interactive map that highlights environmental features, attributes, and resources in Tacoma. The guide provides residents and visitors with information on green infrastructure, environmental education, transportation options, open space, locally grown food, and more.
Residents and business owners attended the 7th Annual South Sound Sustainability Expo to learn about services, products, companies and agencies that address sustainability needs in our community. The Expo brought in 950 attendees, with 71 percent of attendees having attending the Expo for the first time.
Showcasing the importance of environmental stewardship in a fun way through science and examples of social responsibility, the EnviroChallenger Program taught more than 600 free environmental lessons in Tacoma's second through eighth grade classrooms. The City started the EnviroChallenger Program in 2000. Since its inception, the program has reached more than 100,000 students in public and private schools in Tacoma.
The City of Tacoma’s Environmental Compliance Group, or Source Control, is responsible for preventing pollutants from impacting the City’s treatment plants or surface waters by controlling discharges at their source. As part of the state’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting program requirements, Source Control inspected 689 businesses, including 746 private stormwater devices and 427 sanitary grease removal devices, to ensure they are implementing best management practices to prevent illicit discharges to the stormwater or sanitary conveyance systems.
Keeping Tacoma a place that people want to live, play and work keeps the City of Tacoma’s Code Compliance officers busy year-round, as they respond to more than 7,500 code concerns reported by residents. To help make the process more streamlined and efficient, a new automated process was implemented in 2014. To help reduce the number of concerns, Code Compliance officers proactively conducted a survey of properties that sit at city entry points. The survey enabled Code Compliance officers to reach out to 1,300 property owners with possible violations before they became a concern.
The Crime Free Housing Program helps tenants and landlords create safer neighborhoods. In 2014, the City of Tacoma provided training on crime free housing topics, and helped properties receive full Crime Free Housing certifications. 150 Tacoma properties started the certification process.
City of Tacoma crews removed 98,000 pounds of debris from homeless encampments and responded to 164 graffiti removal notifications on public property. The success of the Rapid Graffiti Removal Pilot Program is seen, or rather not seen, around town. The pilot program helped participating property owners, whose properties were all in key corridors of Tacoma, remove 180 incidents of graffiti. The program was so successful, it will continue in 2015 to help property owners quickly respond to and remove graffiti, helping keep Tacoma clean while reducing future incidents of graffiti.
Community organizations and other established groups of 10 or more in Tacoma can be “In the Know” about services and programs the City of Tacoma offers by scheduling an “In the Know” subject matter expert to talk about what they do and provide. The program, which was launched in late 2014, is available through the TacomaFirst 311 Customer Support Center and cityoftacoma.org/INK.
The City of Tacoma’s Road Use Compliance Division launched a pilot program with the Port of Tacoma and the City of Fife to offer Voluntary Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Inspections to trucking companies to help make Tacoma roads safer for all drivers. During the program, officers from Tacoma and Fife completed 84 inspections and issued 70 CVSA decals. The decals show that a vehicle was defect free at the time of inspection. In general, vehicles displaying a valid CVSA decal are not subject to re-inspection. CVSA decals are valid for the month of issuance plus two months and help drivers minimize delays at roadside inspections.
The Tacoma Fire Department installed 1,075 home smoke alarms – including 75 with strobe lights – for the hearing impaired, and provided fire prevention and disaster preparedness information to 200 homes.
The State Electronics Challenge encourages state, tribal, regional, and local governments, including schools and other public entities, to responsibly manage office equipment, by purchasing greener office equipment, reducing the impacts of these products during use, and managing obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way. The City of Tacoma achieved bronze level recognition from the State Electronics Challenge program for sustainable practices in managing electronic devices.