Large Project in Lincoln District Will Bring Changes
By Matt Kite
Tacoma’s Lincoln District is about to get a face lift. The five-block stretch of South 38th Street between Tacoma Avenue South and South Thompson Avenue will be improving shortly. In fact, Phase 1 is already underway. Lincoln District Revitalization Project. This is a $7.3-million plan designed to rejuvenate Tacoma’s beloved International District.
“It is changing physically,” explains My Nguyen, a business outreach specialist with the City of Tacoma. “But it’s not just a new look . They’re forming a new culture in the district.”
Tacoma Power is replacing old power poles with upgraded ones that will stand fifty-eight feet tall. That is tall enough to preserve building facades and allow for new development. That’s just the first step. A full plan includes beautification, sidewalks, benches, trash bins, landscaping elements and traffic-calming measures. Public art, too, will play a large role. Renowned artist Horatio Law will oversee several art projects, including two welcoming gateways into the neighborhood.
As Nguyen points out, however, the changes won’t be just cosmetic. In fact, improvements to environmental services, rehab loan programs for homeowners, down payment assistance, graffiti prevention, job training, crime reduction strategies, emergency preparedness are all included in a multi-faceted approach designed to breathe new life into the International District.
When the project is finished, first-time visitors and long-time residents alike will notice the district’s striking makeover. Additionally, business owners, many of them members of Tacoma’s thriving Vietnamese community, will benefit from easier access to city officials.
“The city’s resources were very difficult for them to comprehend and not accessible in their language,” Nguyen notes. “Now everything will be more accessible. We have a pilot location, a satellite position, that allows people to stop by without going to the municipal court to ask questions.”
The project is slated to run through November of 2017. However Nguyen says he is already seeing changes on the ground. The old East Asia Supermarket was recently cleaned out. For years it was a neglected, vacant building. Property owners nearby are working on various improvements. New business owners, meanwhile, are arriving to take advantage of the favorable environment.
A successful project will do more than just make the Lincoln District a pleasant place to visit, shop and live, Nguyen says. It will strengthen relationships in the community and improve quality of life.
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