The makeover for ten downtown blocks of Pacific Avenue will begin in just a few weeks, though it will shut down soon after to allow people access to businesses during the holidays.
First promised in 2008 during the campaign to keep Russell Investments in Tacoma, the so-called streetscaping project will upgrade the downtown’s main street from Old City Hall at South 7th Street to the Tacoma Art Museum at South 17th Street.
Civic leaders vowed to complete this and some other tasks no matter what Russell decided. Three years after the company announced its move, the City Council awarded the construction contract this week.
The project, which will cost roughly $8.3 million, is being funded mostly through federal and state grants. The city itself will fund about $1.75 million from funds dedicated to surface water and street improvements.
Work will begin between South 7th and South 9th in early November, city project manager Steve Rich said, with the striping of 29 new side-street angled parking spaces.
Crews plan to complete that before suspending work between Nov. 22 and Jan. 2. The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of next year.
In addition to angle parking, workers will add new lights, directional signs for visitors, bike lanes, crosswalks, 129 trees and almost 4,000 other plantings including grasses, vines and ferns. A key feature of the project will be 14 rain gardens, which are intended to provide a natural treatment for storm water before it runs into the Thea Foss Waterway.
The City Council awarded Tacoma-based general contractor Tucci & Sons Inc. the $6.9 million construction contract this week, but not before another bidder raised concerns.
Goodfellow Bros. Inc. bid the job at about $6.3 million, but its proposal was rejected because it failed to fill out some documents required by the federal government. Tucci was the next-low bidder. Goodfellow protested, arguing Tucci’s bid was flawed because, in Goodfellow’s view, Tucci failed to provide some documents Goodfellow believed were required by state law.
The City’s board of Contracts and Awards, which hears contractor appeals, rejected Goodfellow’s contention. Goodfellow then appealed that decision to the city council, which heard the appeal Tuesday evening. The council spent more than an hour listening and questioning representatives from both companies and city attorneys. The council upheld the board’s decision, and then awarded the contract to Tucci.
The council’s decision ends Goodfellow’s options for appeals, but the company could decide to take legal action. A company representative declined to comment Thursday.