City of Lakewood Continues Massive Revitalization Project of Tillicum Neighborhood

Habitat for Humanity partners with city to build much-needed new housing

As a part of an expansive revitalization project of Lakewood’s Tillicum neighborhood, approximately 30 new homes will be built in the next four years replacing dilapidated buildings and vacant lots in order to provide home ownership opportunities for low-income families. The new homes are being built through a partnership between the City of Lakewood and the Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity.

“This exciting project is a vital part of the remarkable economic transformation that the Tillicum neighborhood is experiencing,” said Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditz. “What was once a blighted and very undesirable area of the city is now being transformed to a welcoming residential area surrounded by a vibrant commercial district.”

In November and December 2011, a total of 13 derelict houses and structures that posed safety and health issues were razed, making room for eight new townhouses and seven detached single family homes. These 15 homes will be constructed on adjoining sites and approximately 15 additional units will be constructed on scattered sites throughout the neighborhood.

The new housing is a part of the Tillicum Neighborhood Plan that was adopted by the Lakewood City Council in June 2010. The plan included a massive $18 million sewer extension project in the Tillicum and Woodbrook neighborhoods, which was completed in October 2011. The system will improve overall water quality and public health, protect property values threatened by failing septic systems, and allow for new residential and commercial development. The 30 new homes will all be connected to the city sewer system.

The new housing is being paid for through both private and public funding. The nonprofit Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity is partnering with the City of Lakewood, which is contributing approximately $1.16 million made available through Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. In addition, hundreds of volunteers will contribute their time and the future home owners will contribute 500 hours of sweat equity to their new homes.

“The response by Lakewood city officials and local community and civic organizations has been tremendous,” said Maureen Fife, executive director of the Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity. “We selected Tillicum for this revitalization project because the neighborhood has endured economic challenges for years and the city is 100 percent committed to turning it around.”

Habitat for Humanity has previously built three homes in Lakewood. With the addition of these 30 new homes, Habitat and the City are looking to expand their partnership by eliminating blight and creating much needed homeownership opportunities for the residents of Tillicum.