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Groundbreaking ceremony next week for downtown Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue makeover

Post by Kathleen Cooper / The News Tribune on Oct. 31, 2012 at 10:56 am |
October 31, 2012 3:11 pm

The public is invited to a ceremony on Monday marking the beginning of Pacific Avenue’s makeover.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. 9:30 a.m. at at Fireman’s Park, 701 Pacific Ave., and will be followed by a reception at the Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave. Pierce Transit will provide transportation from the park to the museum, according to a news release from the City of Tacoma.

Local historian Michael Sullivan and project artists Elizabeth O’Connor will speak, as will Congressman Norm Dicks. Other city civic and business leaders also plan to attend.

When work begins this month, workers will add angle parking 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 $8.3 million project is being funded mostly through federal and state grants. In light of my colleague Lewis Kamb’s report today about plans to cut the city’s public works budget, I’ve asked city staff for the estimated annual maintenance costs for the rain gardens, and how the city plans to pay for them. I’ll post here when I hear back.

UPDATE, 3 p.m: Maintenance of the rain gardens, whose purpose is to filter stormwater before it runs into the Thea Foss Waterway, will be taken care of by city surface water funds. The city is estimating about $11,000 annually for labor and materials to weed, remove trash, provide new mulch and possibly replace plants.


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