By Norma Iwamoto.
To: Don Anderson, Mayor, City of Lakewood, Connie Ladenburg, The Suburban Times, Tacoma Weekly
I have lived in Tacoma for 50+ years. My mother lives in Lakewood on Steilacoom Blvd. Her house is located two blocks north of Western State Hospital. I often take her to the casino in Yelm on Saturdays and we drive past Western State. We comment to each other about the large number of cars parked at Western State on Saturdays and sometimes other days of the week.
We assumed that there were just a lot of visitors for the patients there. We also commented about the once nice little houses on the grounds of Western State that are now vacant and boarded up. These houses could be fixed up and restored and would make great homes for an employee with a small family. Instead they are decaying and sinking into the ground. Such a waste.
If Western State staff were allowed to live in these houses (after being restored of course) they would be spared a (probable) long commute from elsewhere –and wear & tear and the expense of gas on their vehicles.
I found out that most of the cars parked at Western State Hospital belong to staff. I don’t understand why the state doesn’t fix up the scattering of houses on the grounds and make them available to rent to staff. An apartment complex could be built on the vast grounds of Western State Hospital that could be rented to staff which would also save the employees time and the expense of commuting from who knows where.
There are probably 200+ cars parked at Western State at any given time. I believe staff would be happy to live near work, especially in that particular area of Lakewood. There is Waughop park across the street, a grocery store, strip mall shopping, restaurants, gas stations, a high school, Pierce College, Steilacoom waterfront, and so much more. I am sure there could be a financial benefit for Lakewood as well from a scenario such as I have described above.
Thank you for your time.