TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Mar. 24, 2009 at 3:00pm

Update: Wedge Historic District

For anyone following the Wedge Historic District nomination, another milestone is expected to be reached during a meeting Wednesday. Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is slated to make a decision on a preliminary preferred alternative for the proposed district's boundary. I wrote an article about the issue for today's edition of the Index.

Here is a map of the preliminary preferred alternative . . .

A memo prepared for the March 25 meeting includes two notable recommendations.

First, the preferred alternative would exclude a row of homes along the 500 block of South L Street. The block includes nine homes owned by five different individual owners, and dating back between 1890 and 1906. Here is a photo of some homes on the block . . .

Earlier this year, a property owner with four homes on the block told the LPC that he and his neighbors would oppose the historic district nomination if it included their block. MultiCare Health System, whose campus is nearby, also opposes inclusion. This week, staff recommended excluding the block/homes because of the opposition and its disconnect from the rest of the neighborhood. "The commission can reasonably expect that a majority of owners will oppose the nomination," writes Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight in the memo. "[T]his block is isolated from the core district, making it difficult to rationally connect with the core district."

Second, the preferred alternative would include a block bordered by South 4th and South M Streets. Four homes on that block are owned by MultiCare and date back between 1905 and 1925. The block also includes three other homes not owned by MultiCare. One resident owns two homes on the block and has strongly supported the historic district designation. Last month, MultiCare asked that the four heritage homes be excluded from the proposed district boundary. But this week, staff recommended including the homes. Here are a couple photos of homes on the block . . .

Two vacant MultiCare-owned homes (built in the early-1920s) . . .

Another vacant MultiCare home (built in 1908) . . .

I expect these two points will be discussed at length during Wednesday's meeting. The LPC will pick a preliminary preferred alternative this week, and make a final recommendation May 13 (based on public feedback). From there, important upcoming dates include:

  • May 27 -- Public opinion survey of area property owners to gauge support/opposition of the historic district
  • June 24 -- Public hearing
  • July 22 -- LPC votes on final recommendation

If you would like to attend this week's meeting, it will be held Weds., March 25 at 5:00 p.m. at 728 St. Helens, Tacoma Municipal Building North, Room 16. Agenda here, packet here.

For earlier Index coverage of the Wedge Historic District nomination, check out these links:

  • Will Tacoma's Wedge neighborhood go historic? (09/05/08) -- Link
  • A Slice of History: Two meetings will explore Wedge historic district nomination (09/23/08) -- Link
  • MultiCare, Wedge residents discuss hospital expansion, historic district effort (10/02/08) -- Link
  • MultiCare weighs in on Wedge historic district nomination (02/09/09) -- Link
  • Big decision ahead for proposed Wedge historic district (02/11/09) -- Link
  • New timeline for Wedge historic district review (02/18/09) -- Link
  • A Hike through History (03/05/09) -- Link

On March 4, the LPC went on a walking tour of the Wedge neighborhood. For photos from the tour, click here.

comments [4]  |  posted under Historic Preservation, Wedge


by Erik on 3/24/2009 @ 3:15pm
Great post. They might as well protect what they can or the expanding hospitals will turn the area into a parking lot moat.

by morgan on 3/24/2009 @ 3:17pm
Nice work covering this, Todd! And good work to the residents working on this nomination!

by Dave_L on 3/24/2009 @ 5:48pm
Thanks for your ongoing excellent, informative, and in-depth reporting on this, Todd.

by rithean on 3/24/2009 @ 7:11pm
Maybe MultiCare could pitch in some money to get the Link up the hill to the campus, then turn a parking lot they already own into a building with a underground parking! How about that?


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