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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Regional Hub, Tacoma?

What would it take for Tacoma to become a regional hub of tourism, commerce, business and civic work? With close proximity to the Sound, close distance to the other regional hubs, Seattle and Bellevue, and close proximity to the military bases and the capital, Tacoma is geographically in a very nice location. But somehow, this hasn’t translated into success in the past. What would it take for the city to change that trend and become a localized center where all of the previously mentioned areas can congregate for business? With Sounder Trains stopping in Tacoma, slowly mass transit is finding its way to the city. But more is apparently needed. What Tacoma also needs is a major overhaul in the way it does business on many levels. In the political world, new city council members can add new ideas and vision to the current leadership. I think this will be far more beneficial than sticking with the old ways of thought on government and its influence on growth. New businesses are continuing to set up shop in Tacoma. But what may be even more necessary is a renewed push towards inviting larger businesses to relocate here. Too many Tacoma residents leave the city to be productive workers elsewhere. Tacoma has to find a new way to keep Tacoma residents here and working. A thriving business climate will add new revenue to the city’s coffers and allow even more people to think about making Tacoma their home. Stable job growth is essential to our future. I’m not so sure that Tacoma has found a way to be truly innovative in this area. And what about entertainment? Have we found a way to set ourselves apart from neighboring cities vying for the discretionary spending dollar? Could a commercial and shopping district be viable here in Tacoma? Something urban, hip, diverse with an altogether different feel than what is being splattered across every other downtown in the state? Could that work as well? I think it could and I think people are looking for that. How many hip/upscale/pseudo village malls are necessary? Tacoma deserves something far grittier and unique. So many questions, who’s got the answer?

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