Recognizing the Urban Ties that Bind

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UW Tacoma's contributions to the city and the region are being recognized with awards for collaboration and partnership.

As the largest urban-serving university in the South Sound, UW Tacoma has an outsize impact on our neighborhood, city and region. Periodically, the university’s contributions are recognized by the community, which is an opportunity for us all, inside and outside the university, to step back, celebrate our collaborations and be inspired to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

2015 Governor’s Smart Communities Award

Earlier this month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced the recipients of the 2015 Smart Communities Awards. The City of Tacoma has received an award recognizing its partnership with UW Tacoma on the Prairie Line Trail, the conversion of one mile of the old Northern Pacific transcontinental mainline to a public space linking Tacoma’s Brewery District, the UW Tacoma campus and the waterfront. The UW Tacoma portion of the trail was opened in 2014 and has since become a vital corridor connecting the campus to the community. Soon, the City will commence work on the portion of the trail connecting the campus to the waterfront.

2015 Vision 2040 Award

The Puget Sound Regional Council, the multi-jurisdictional body involved in regional planning and responsible for allocating federal transportation dollars in the region, has announced that the City of Tacoma is the recipient of a 2015 Vision 2040 award for its “regional growth center” plan. One component of that plan is the South Downtown subarea plan, for which UW Tacoma acted as co-lead. The plan lays the foundation for years’ worth of public and private developments, from the growth of the UW Tacoma campus, to the relocation of Tacoma’s Amtrak station, to the expansion of Link light rail, to new commercial investments in the Dome district and adjoining the UW Tacoma campus.

The South Downtown subarea plan is innovative for Tacoma because of its recognition of the concept of a “major institution.” With this concept, major institutions such as universities and hospitals can do their planning on the basis of their whole-campus footprint, rather than parcel-by-parcel in isolation.

2015 Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission Award

Speaking of Tacoma’s Amtrak station, UW Tacoma served on the citizen’s advisory committee for the Amtrak station relocation, and this service has been recognized with a 2015 Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission Award to the committee.

The Amtrak station relocation is part of a larger state plan to shift passenger trains (Amtrak and Sound Transit) off BNSF’s waterfront Point Defiance line to a rehabilitated line running inland from downtown Tacoma to Nisqually, a distance of 20 miles. The relocation will shorten travel times through the corridor and allow Amtrak and Sound Transit to add additional service connecting Tacoma to points south and north.

Written by: 
John Burkhardt / June 26, 2015
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or