Tacoma Public Schools is considering selling a vacant wooded property next to the popular Blueberry Park on the east side. It’s an area that neighbors say has attracted criminal activity and homelessness over the last several years.
“Meth heads, I see a lot of heroin users, I see a lot of homeless people going in, they were bringing in recliners on wagons for god sake.”
Patricia Porter lives right next to the park and says she’s invested around $4,000 into security to protect her home and her family.
“We had to put a steel door up here. We’ve had to put bolted window enforcers, bolted door enforcers, security cameras,” said Porter.
It’s the same story for Chrissi Scott and her daughters near the park. Scott is hesitant about letting her daughters play near the park.
“I can see the park from my house, but I still feel really nervous about them coming by themselves,” she said.
Dan Vopel with Tacoma Public Schools said it’s been challenging for the district to maintain the 31-acre property
“The neighbors don’t like it. We have to come in periodically with our crews and clean it up and work with the city trying to get some services to the homeless people who are in there,” said Vopel. “I think it would be better for everyone if we can find someone to find a use for it.”
So far, the district says there is one developer who has expressed interest in the property, said Nicole Pressnall with Green Harbor Community.
A representative from Green Harbor Community spoke Thursday night at the Tacoma Public School Board meeting about the possibility of developing the land into affordable housing for the working class.
Neighbors hope there is careful consideration for what comes next.
“With an apartment building it’s constantly people in and out in and out in and out, and it changes the dynamic of the neighborhood a little bit,” said Scott.
“I want to see permanent homes and people living there and make this a community. I love that,” said Porter.
Tacoma Public Schools will host another public hearing October 26 where the board will decide if the property will go up for sale.