When asked how they wanted to use their $750,000 of the Building Tacoma Together bond package, the people of the West End Neighborhood spoke loudly - and clearly. They wanted to make their neighborhood a safer place for everyone, but especially the children.
They saw an immediate need for additional lighting at Wilson High School. They wanted a flashing caution light at Hunt Middle School and dedicated bike lanes on Narrows and Jackson Streets. They also called for sidewalk repairs on Mildred Street in the vicinity of Tacoma Community College.
Along the way, Council members learned how to leverage their funds to achieve maximum impact for their neighborhood. "If you partner with others, your money goes much farther," says Council member Ginny Eberhart.
- Our stories, Our times: A Retrospective Of Achievements 1999
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West End Neighborhood Council Profile
The West End Neighborhood Council is one of the largest Council areas in Tacoma with more than 28,000 residents. The area is predominately residential although commercial areas can be found along Pearl St., 6th Ave., and Mildred. The area has some of the most spectacular views in Tacoma as most of the west side slopes gently toward the west. The northern portion slopes toward the northeast where views of Seattle and Vashon Island are evident. The area also has numerous natural areas along the shoreline as many gulches and creeks extend into the interior. In many cases, sections of these creeks have been left in their natural state which provides a vibrant natural habitat for wildlife. Deer, owls, eagles, raccoons, and various birds can be found in the hidden natural areas of the West End. The West End has several major assets including Tacoma Community College, Point Defiance Park, Titlow Park, Highlands Golf Course, Ruston Way, and Narrows Bridge.
The West End is a large Neighborhood Council District. It includes the entire west slope of Tacoma from Point Defiance to below 19th St. On the east side it includes the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) site yet jogs at 46th to Huson. The boundary then runs down Huson until 6th Ave. where it runs west to SR 16 which it follows south until 19th St.
President Andrew Johnson originally established Point Defiance as a military reservation in 1866. Residents began enjoying Point Defiance as a park when the United States Congress finally permitted public use of military reservation.
Major developments at Point Defiance started in 1907 with the construction of a pavilion, aquarium and other attractions. At the present time there is a Formal Park Zone, the Waterfront Zone, the Forest Zone and the Zoo and Aquarium. The former ASARCO smelter, which was originally south of Point Defiance, began in 1887 and the town of Ruston developed shortly afterward. The smelter operated for many years. This area is now the site of the Point Ruston mixed-use development that is planned to contain condos, retail and commercial space, open space and parks.
Early development began in the West End near Point Defiance Park and Ruston and then spread to other areas. Two resorts developed along the waterfront on the west side: Titlow Beach, originally a resort in the early part of this century; and Salmon Beach, developed as a small weekend salmon retreat. Both of these areas are along the West Slope which contains a greenbelt of natural vegetation extending from Point Defiance to Titlow Beach Park.
Titlow Park is located on the Narrows and was an original part of the William B. Wilton Donation Land Claim, patented by the United States in 1871. In 1903, A.R. Titlow purchased the northern half of the Wilton claim, to include the park site. The Titlow Beach Resort had an extravagant hotel with docking facilities, but due to property tax issues, it was acquired as a park along with subsequent land parcels. Prior to construction of the Narrows Bridge in 1940, the ferry ran from Titlow to Gig Harbor carrying passengers and freight. Along with the aforementioned areas, the West End has the following parks: China Lake, Optimist Park, Vassault Park, Minnetti Fields, Kandle Park, Baltimore Park and 1/2 of Jane Clark Park. All but Jane Clark Park were acquired during the last forty years as subdivisions were developed in the West End.
The West End is home to more than 28,210 residents or about 16% of Tacoma’s population. Between 1980 and 1990, the population increased by 16%, much of it due to the multi-family development that occurred during this period. This increase is expected to continue based upon Puget Sound Regional Council estimates of population in 2010 projected to be 36,513. The graph to the left shows the increase in population between 1950 and 1990.
24% of residents are under the age of 20
18% of residents are age 65 or over
11% of residents are of minority decent
56% of adults have post-secondary education
28% of adults have jobs in professional occupations
The West End contains roughly 16% of Tacoma’s land area with a total of 5,181 acres. Some other notable facts about land use and development in the West End are:
Residential development uses 1,959 acres or 38.3%
Commercial development uses 138 acres or 2.7%
Industrial and development uses 235 acres or 4.6%
Public and Quasi Public uses 1,260 acres or 24.6%
Vacant land still accounts for 383 acres or 7.5%
Streets and highways account for 1,001 acres or 19.6%
The West End population increased 16% between 1980 and 1990. This was greater than the 11.5% increase in population citywide. Projections indicate the area will continue to grow, but at a slower pace than during the 80's. The forecasted growth rate for the 90's of 10.6% is above the citywide projection of 10.2%.