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Tacoma: Sneak peek of mayor’s “State of the City” address

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Jan. 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm with No Comments »
January 30, 2012 6:28 pm

In a little less than 20 minutes, Mayor Marilyn Strickland is expected to deliver her second “State of the City” address during the Tacoma Shift Happens event at the convention center.

Marilyn Strickland

Here’s a sneak peek at the mayor’s speech:

2012 State of the City Address


(7 minutes followed by 3 minute video from Convention and Visitors Bureau)

On behalf of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma City Council, I am thrilled to be here tonight at the second annual Shift Happens event to give my second State of the City address. Once again, I want to thank the organizers, volunteers, merchants and attendees who have participated in today’s event.


Last year, our theme for the State of the City address was “finishing what we started.”  And we did!  From family recreation to commerce and transportation, we saw the completion of many great projects:

– Cheney Stadium, home of the Tacoma Rainiers, re-opened on time and on budget to great reviews from many fans.

– After years of trying to attract a grocery store to downtown Tacoma, the new IGA’s City Grocer opened its doors on 13th and Pacific Avenue at Pacific Plaza – adding a new downtown shopping option for workers, visitors and residents.

– Much to the delight of children and families from the Stadium District to Hilltop, Metro Parks completed and turned on the water at the Wright Park Spraygrounds last summer, for a little relief from hot summer days. Wright Park has again become a destination for families and one of our most beloved urban parks.

– The Ting at Chinese Reconciliation Park graces our waterfront.  A gift from our Sister City in Fuzhou, opened to the public and has become a picturesque focal point for community events, respectful recognition of our community’s past, and a symbol of international unity.

– We completed the Lincoln Avenue Bridge in the Tideflats, which along with the Lincoln Avenue Grade Separation project helps speed the movement of cargo, freight and traffic to and from the busy Port of Tacoma

– The new Children’s Museum of Tacoma now joins museum row and adds the vitality of children and families to our downtown core. If you have not already visited, it opened to rave reviews early this year as the only non-profit children’s museum in the country to offer free admission to those who cannot afford to make a donation – thanks to the generous support of KeyBank.

– In a most unique partnership with the arts community, health care organizations and other local businesses, Tollefson Plaza was transformed into Polar Plaza during the holiday season -bringing ice skating to our downtown core, something that was so popular that it was extended for an extra week.

– At the request of our business community, two new stops were added to the LINK Light Rail in the heart of downtown, making our light rail system even more useful for users around 12th and Commerce streets.


Like many of you here tonight, we have high hopes for small businesses in Tacoma in 2012

– We saw 2,744 new businesses get licensed in 2011 – 500 more new businesses than in 2010

– As a way to help existing businesses and to help those looking to start a new business in Tacoma, in February we will launch the TacomaMeansBusiness.com website. This new site will offer a series of checklists for starting a business in Tacoma along with tips and easy links to business resources in a simple, easy-to-use format

2011 turned out to be a challenging year. But challenges don’t stop us here in Tacoma. We persevere, and we move forward and look to the future.  One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The true measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but in times of challenge and controversy.”

And there are a number of highlights on the horizon in 2012:

– The LeMay – America’s Car Museum is scheduled to open in June / USA Today referred to this as one of the 8 great openings to anticipate in 2012.

– McMenamins is scheduled to begin construction this spring on their plan to turn the Historic Elks Temple into a pub, restaurant and concert venue including hotel rooms

– Sound Transit’s D-to-M Street project is scheduled to be complete this year, adding the long-awaited Sounder commuter rail service to South Tacoma and Lakewood.


– Tacoma 360 is working with students to create new opportunities at First Creek Middle School on Tacoma’s East Side, with the goal of making it a full service school.

– The Foundation for Tacoma Schools seeks to generate private support to improve the educational outcomes for Tacoma students.

– All kinds of positive news continues to pour out of Lincoln High School, where they recently won a Golden Apple Award from KCTS-9 for Lincoln Center.  Last week, it was announced that one of the school’s most successful athletes, Jon Kitna, is returning home to Tacoma to teach math and coach the Lincoln High football team after 15 years playing as a National Football League quarterback.

-The Mayors Education Task Force continues to support civics education, improved middle school sports, and presses for staffing flexibility so we can retain the most effective teachers and place them where they are most needed.

– Also on the East Side of the city, the Mottet Library remodeling project was completed last month, and now has the distinction of being the neighborhood library with the highest number of public computers. It is also the only library with a fireplace.

2012 is also a year for new beginnings, which offers that chance for us to look at Tacoma from new and different perspectives:


-Tom Pierson, Chamber of Commerce

– The City of Tacoma will have a new City Manager, T.C. Broadnax, working with me and the rest of the City Council to move the City forward

– Dr. Debra Friedman took over last year as the Chancellor at the University of Washington Tacoma

– And Tacoma Public Schools has a new acting Superintendent Carla Santorno


And we’re scheduled to complete some major projects in 2012 as well:

– This spring the Hylebos Bridge is scheduled to re-open, improving transportation access for those traveling to and from NE Tacoma.

– And around the end of 2012 we are scheduled to finish the rehabilitation of the Murray Morgan Bridge, which will restore vehicle access from the heart of downtown to the Tideflats – just in time to mark the 100th birthday of the bridge in 2013.

– Construction is underway again at Point Ruston, where they are improving infrastructure, and a residential building is rising out of the ground and work is expected to be completed later this year on the new roadway connecting Ruston Way and the town of Ruston.

– In the health care field, Community Health Care plans to open its $23 million urgent care clinic in the Hilltop later this year.

– And Franciscan Health System is scheduled to complete a $62 million medical office building and parking garage on the Hilltop as well.

– We are also looking toward the future in 2012 with a feasibility study to see whether a professional sports franchise could make its future home in the Tacoma Dome.

– And City staff is working with community members and businesses in area-wide planning processes in the Dome District and the Hilltop – projects that should make it easier for new development to happen in those areas as the economy improves.



Like many cities around the country, we’re facing budget challenges. Revenues are down and the recovery has been slow.

Make cuts, raise revenues and invest.

“The true measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Author Thomas Friedman recently challenged Americans to realize that average is over. The era of “good enough” is over.

“In a hyper-connected world where so many talented non-Americans and smart machines that can do above-average work are now easily available to virtually every employer, what was ‘average’ work ten years ago is below average today, and will be further below average ten years from now,” Friedman and Mandelbaum write. “As a result, everyone needs to raise his or her game just to stay in place, let alone get ahead.” In an environment where “average is over,” they go on, everybody has to find their “extra” — their unique talent, skill, contribution, or commitment that separates them from the pack and lets them do something special.

Friedman and Mandelbaum are policy wonks, so they explore the notion that “average is over” mainly as it applies to countries and societies, and how we educate kids, train workers, and make public investments. But their insight applies just as powerfully to companies and their leaders. The business world is overflowing with products and services and designs and marketing campaigns that are adequate. The real challenge — and the huge opportunity — is to turn something adequate into something amazing. It’s just not good enough to be pretty good at everything. The most successful companies, products, and brands have figured out how to become the most of something. That is, to find and embrace their “extra.

From the private sector, to the non-profit world, to the public sector, we must ask ourselves what is our extra?  It is everyday people doing extraordinary things.


And now, I want to take this opportunity to show off Tacoma through the eyes of the latest promotional video from the Tacoma-Pierce County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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