We all know that the pace of progress can be glacial at times, but in the City of University Place, I believe our progress has been almost meteoric. We have achieved so much in our relatively short 25-year history.
It all began with our 1996 Community Vision, which represented residents’ input on what you wanted from your new city. That feedback would become the basis for U.P.’s Comprehensive Plan. This master document outlined our aggressive goals for improving our City’s infrastructure as well as ways to develop consistent sources of funding so we could achieve your aspirations for top-notch public services and an outstanding quality of life.
Only six years after incorporation, we adopted the Town Center plan that would literally prove to be the foundation of our economic security. Since 2010, we have seen more than $150 million in private investment in what we now call the Village at Chambers Bay, and developers’ impact fees have contributed over $1.1 million to benefit our City parks.
We also got busy improving safety and accessibility around the City for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians—including our students. We have created a network of more than 39 miles of sidewalks while also upgrading our street lighting and crosswalks.
With community input, we created flower-filled roundabouts, public art and signage ordinances that have helped us carve out a truly unique sense of “Place” that sets us apart from our neighboring cities.
We’ve gone from one park to 17 and every year, we draw thousands of people from around Pierce County to our signature festivals and events, such as Duck Daze and our Christmas Tree Lighting in Market Square Plaza.
With hundreds of new residents in the three new mixed-use buildings in the Village at Chambers Bay, a gorgeous, modern library, national retailers including Whole Foods and Trek Bikes, as well as scores of unique independent businesses, University Place has become a destination.
Every time a developer chooses to invest in U.P., every time a shopper spends money in U.P., every time a visitor comes to town to participate in one of our public events, we all benefit. They provide the “gas in our tank” that keeps us moving forward.
And moving forward we are. As our current pandemic has demonstrated, we can never truly anticipate what the future has in store for us, but we can still plan. So we will continue to seek grants to build out our arterial streets’ sidewalks and bike lanes. We are beginning to implement the PROS (Park, Recreation and Open Space) Plan that calls for things like additional picnic shelters, shading, sports courts and bike racks in our parks. We continue to work with our public safety personnel to ensure they have the resources to protect our community and we are promoting economic development opportunities in our City’s traditional business districts as well.
Needless to say, U.P.’s story is still being written. But if the first 25 years are any indication, we will have much more to tell when 2045 rolls around.
Take a look at some of the before and after images below!