South Sound Proud: #LiveLikeTheMountainIsOut every day

I recently got invited to be a guest on Marguerite Giguere’s Move to Tacoma podcast. I went on with the goal of talking about 6 new things that add to the Tacoma/Piece County region’s coolness factor.

  1. Sound Sound Proud: the campaign to “Live Like the Mountain Is Out.” I’ve had the privilege of working on this project for over a year with a great group of communicators. That slogan speaks to our attitude – our state of mind – about living here.
  2. The Downtown to Defiance trolley, which starts June 2nd.
  3. The new Pacific Seas Aquarium that’s under construction at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Coming in mid 2018: hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, giant Japanese spider crabs, and more!
  4. A new 11-acre park at Point Defiance Park also opens in 2018. It will feature an event lawn, a paved trail linking Ruston Way with Point Defiance, a pedestrian bridge offering incredible views, a series of slides down a steep hill, and more boat trailer parking. Think Gasworks Park, only better.
  5. One of my favorite projects to be a part of is the development of the Eastside Community Center in a part of Tacoma that badly needs it. Features will include an amazing pool, a gym, social hall, teaching kitchen, recording studio, multipurpose rooms, cafe and more.
  6. Swan Creek Park: did you know that Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members tallied thousands of volunteer hours as they built over 5 miles of trails in this huge park in East Tacoma? People are coming from far away to ride these trails.

Before we got to all of that, Marguerite and I talked about civic engagement, my experiences on the Fircrest City Council, and of course, what caused me to move here.

You can find a link to our conversation here.

And check out her website’s section on Fircrest here.

KING 5’s Joyce Taylor visits her hometown of Tacoma

KING 5 morning news anchor Joyce Taylor is a Tacoma girl, and proud of it. Her morning program does a regular gig called “Beyond the Studio” in which they spend a four-hour show in one community and tell a number of stories about people and places.

Joyce decided to come to Tacoma’s historic Hilltop neighborhood – where she grew up – to show viewers how much has changed in Tacoma over the years. She interviewed a number of folks, including Jon Kettler, who started Tacoma’s Innovative Schools program (SOTA, SAMI and IDEA), Steph Farber, the jeweler and longtime downtown Tacoma advocate, and the Rev. Anthony Steele of Allen AME Church.

She invited me on to talk about some great Metro Parks Tacoma successes, including the new $8 million pool and other improvements at People’s Community Center. We also talked about the challenges of trying to provide services to preschoolers, youth, teens, young adults and older adults in one community center. And I got to brag for a minute about our great partnerships with Tacoma Public Schools, including agreements to bus kids from Jason Lee Middle School to People’s for swim lessons, and our Elementary Sports Program that doubled youth participation in recreational sports by offering the activities on-site at 35 elementary schools.

I met with Joyce twice, and I love her enthusiasm and affection for our community. I’m hoping to invite her back to speak at a local event or two.

Here’s the 2 1/2-minute segment.

China Lake Park — there’s more to it than you realize

Fircrest is blessed with a beautiful park system — there are cities much larger than us that would love to have parks like ours.

As a new member of the senior leadership team at Metro Parks Tacoma, one of my initial goals is to visit most of the parks in that system. On Aug. 22, while out running errands with my 6-year-old son, we decided to stop and explore China Lake, a beautiful 11-acre park that’s literally across the street from Fircrest.

There’s not much to see from 19th (Columbia) Street — a small parking lot and a meadow. But it’s amazing how relaxing it becomes as soon as you go around the corner and into the woods. The trail was easy – my son was wearing flip flops for our unplanned excursion.  I wouldn’t exactly describe it as serene, since you can hear the traffic from Highway 16 and 19th Street. But it is definitely peaceful. We walked around the lake, and then we went east up a reasonably steep wooded hill. It’s a great escape from the city.

Here are a few shots. I realized that I enjoyed the wooded hike so much that the one thing I forgot to take a picture of is the actual lake.