By Marianne Lincoln
Pierce County needs jobs. It has lost many of its major employers over the past 20 years. Nalleys, Hygrade, ASARCO, Kaiser to name a few. For better or for worse, they are gone. Today the Washington State Employment Security Department released the county unemployment data for the state as of April 2017. King and Snohomish counties are looking good. Even Thurston County is not looking too bad. Pierce County, sitting in the middle of all that success, is not looking as good at all.
What are we doing that is making us miss out on all that success? How many people are chronically unemployed or underemployed and not even in those figures? I make that charge as I am one of them. Pierce County just isn’t attracting the jobs and we need to know why!
On top of that, the county Planning and Land Services Department (PALS) is certainly working hard to keep builders, carper layers, cement contractors, asphalt contractors, electricians and roofers busy. They are planning to add housing for 60,000 more people in the next 13 years. With the employment landscape as it is, these people will be commuting to Olympia or Seattle to work and putting more pressure on the state highways, estimated to be 300,000 trips a day more pressure. Are we ready for that? I know 224th Street, south and outside of the urban designation (UGA) is carrying a lot more traffic than one would expect for a rural road.
Now comes Gnu City. Once referred to as the City of Pierce when the county passed 2016-79s last year, it is now being termed, the “Centers and Corridors Project.” It aims to put high density housing units and commercial retail along a rectangular area in the mid-county. The designed roads for this population explosion are 112th Street, Meridian, 176th Street and Pacific Avenue. Granted, Meridian is already seeing a lot of this expansion, the other areas have room to grow. They are planning a 1/4 area in either direction of those roads for this density. If you live there and have not considered it, think this: You are going to be taxed out of your homes in the next 13 years so this can happen. The pressure will be on to turn your single family home into an apartment complex. That means, you will likely be ‘made’ interested in selling your home.
My thoughts? How is this going to look between Pacific Avenue and Spanaway Lake? If you live there, you better speak up about what is about to happen. Apartments or hotels? What would you like by Spanaway Elementary School? Can’t beat the view of the lake… hmmm?
I am including information on the next 4 meetings. Apologies that one is tonight, May 23. The others are June 8, June 12 and June 14. You can also look at their information and email them your opinion. Here is their link for information and submissions.
Here are photos of their handout pages.