Morgan's Brain

Mar. 6, 2009 at 3:17pm

CALL TO ACTION! This Monday March 9th 6pm at Metro Parks Headquarters: TPU Surplus Property for Community Gardens and Gathering Places!

Following up on this post: Free Land for Community Gardens

I just got word from Metro Park Board Member Ryan Mello that the topic of what to do with city surplus property has been placed on the agenda of the next Board meeting- this Monday the 9th at 6pm, Metro headquarters: 4702 S 19th St.

Here's the list of surplus properties:

  • Adams, 1920 Adams Street North;
  • Centennial, 543 North Stadium Way;
  • Downing, 1801 North Orchard Street;
  • Fairmont, 4924 North 31st Street;
  • Junett, 3008 North 16th Street;
  • Ruston, 5001 North Visscher Street;
  • Parkland, 101 127th Street East;
  • Warner, 3404 South 45th Street
  • Lincoln Park, 1009 South 35th Street;

View Larger Map


Please help spread the word! Ask that Metro work with TPU in keeping the properties retained for community use. By law if TPU sells the properties, they must sell at market rate. However, the properties can be retained by TPU or transferred to another agency in order to retain community use.

Metro Parks meeting info:
meeting agenda:


comments [15]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 3/6/2009 @ 3:30pm
The North End Neighborhood Council wanted to lease a parcel for a pocket park.

by morgan on 3/8/2009 @ 8:03pm
I'm familiar with that pocket park, Erik, I was involved early on. In most cityies, pocket parks of this type are actually encouraged.

by morgan on 3/9/2009 @ 12:58pm
- map added

by morgan on 3/10/2009 @ 12:08pm
Ack! I thought I posted this link from the TNT that Kathleen Merryman wrote:

Metro Parks Board meeting update:
The meeting last night at Metro Parks headquarters was great. The board and staff on short notice pulled together some basic material to start thinking about neighborhood open space. Quite a few people spoke in support of retaining the TPU publicly owned properties by the community. I can't undestand how this slipped through the city council without community dialog. But the go-ahread was given for TPU to surplus the properties, now it is time to backpeddle and get council members to halt the process to allow the community to come together and put together a different end to the story.

The Metro Parks will do some more research and the board will discuss further at their study session next week. In the meantime, community groups (farmers markets, neighborhood associations, local food supply organization, etc) and residents are urged to contact city council reps and ask for a halt to the process.

There are many possible solutions for encouraging more neighborhood open space (pocket parks, community gardens, tot-lots), but there needs to be a thoughtful dialog. A time-out could help greatly.

by jenyum on 3/10/2009 @ 12:38pm
Yes, I was really disappointed to hear that TPU was going to sell the Junette St property without any community input, putting the breaks on the pocket park we've been trying to establish for several years now.

I thought it was a done deal though, good to hear we may be able to do something about it.

by jenyum on 3/10/2009 @ 12:39pm
So, Morgan, should we be contacting our council members and asking them to stop the sale of TPU property? Can they do that?

by fredo on 3/10/2009 @ 12:55pm
We have enough parks in Tacoma that don't get enough maintenance already. Let's sell this surplus land to the highest bidder and put it back on the tax rolls.

by morgan on 3/10/2009 @ 4:41pm
jenyum: Yes!
fredo: No!

Tacoma lacks walkable neighborhood open space (pocket parks, community gardens, etc). There is great opportunity to create community through place making with these properties - should the community and its leaders act NOW!

Yes, contact your city council reps ( and even TPU officials ( and

by fredo on 3/10/2009 @ 8:11pm
Morgan I'd rather see little taverns, coffee shops, art galleries and interesting housing developments on these sites than more neglected parks covered with graffiti and dog feces. The sale of these properties will enhance revenues in the follow ways: Real estate excise taxes (REETs), property taxes, and (if businesses are allowed to locate) personal property taxes, B&O taxes, L&I, Employment Security, etc. In fact passing these parcels through to the private sector will create Tacoma's own stimulus package at no cost to the taxpayer. Think of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of good jobs that would follow privatization. This is the right way to create community.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/10/2009 @ 8:18pm
I'm not sure we'd find any bidders that would actually press the property into action right away. Taverns, coffee shops, and art galleries sound pretty good to me but I think the ones we have are having enough trouble staying in business. Perhaps when we are out of this mess and real estate and development comes back we can revisit this notion again. I do believe that once you give up public land you can almost never get it back. Once the trees acre chopped down we ain't going to see them for a long time.

by fredo on 3/10/2009 @ 8:30pm
Crenshaw@ The metro parks aren't utilized as much as you might think. I've lived directly across the street from one of them for 25 years. Even on beautiful days the park is frequently abandoned. I should say abandoned except the omnipresent dog people and teenagers with baggy pants. The era of city parks was from 1900 through 1970. People would rather entertain at home now.

by morgan on 3/10/2009 @ 11:07pm
Proctor Gardens (a community garden) has about 30 plots. It has a waiting list of 33. This of course does not count the people who chose not to wait.

Most of the properties are zoned residential, not coffee shop. Sad to say. No matter: Selling community assets is not the way to add density - which Tacoma also needs. If you want more vibrant neighborhoods to attract the people who support local coffee shops, taverns, etc - we need to create more vibrant neighborhoods - with shared community open space.

by ensie on 3/11/2009 @ 11:49am
Per Fredo:

Even on beautiful days the park is frequently abandoned. I should say abandoned except the omnipresent dog people...

Goddamn dog owners - forever trying to do crazy things like walk their dogs.

"Who kicks a dog kicks his own soul towards hell" - Will Judy

by jenyum on 3/11/2009 @ 11:57am
If the problem with your park is the people using it, take your kids out to the park and you'll have instantly solved that "problem."

by fredo on 3/11/2009 @ 11:57am
I have no objection to people walking their dogs. I have a dog myself and love to take it for walks. The people I'm referring to unleash their animals as soon as they get there, look the other way while their "pet" does his business then leash up and go home. If I knew how to post a video I'd put 'em on feedTacoma so you could all have a good laugh. I wouldn't suggest that people kick a dog, but there are quite a few dog owners who could benefit from a good kick.