Making neighborhoods safe and attractive

It’s spring.  The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and the grass is growing.  And oh how it grows and grows.  According to the National Gardening Association, 60 million Americans (more than half of us) engage in some form of do-it-yourself gardening or lawn care.  So much so that when faced with a neighbor who doesn’t keep their lawn manicured, we as a nation often think of them as lazy or uncaring.  As part of the Safe, Clean and Attractive effort, the City of Tacoma employees, Rebuilding Together South Sound and other community organizations and individuals want to help residents needing assistance with their outdoor projects to get the training, guidance and even possibly the volunteer assistance necessary through a new program called Tacoma Neighborhood Makeover Week.

Neighborhood Makeover Week offers free workshops, a block party/resource fair and opportunities for residents to volunteer to help with improvement projects during the week of April 22-28.  This year, makeover teams will converge on the Giaudrone Safe Streets area in South Tacoma to complete projects involving weeding, planting, debris removal, edging and other basic improvements.  According to Alicia Lawver of the City of Tacoma, the project is intended to bring neighbors together as well as illustrate the impact that some fairly easy curbside improvements can have on a neighborhood.  The long term hope is to select a different neighborhood each year for the volunteer projects.  To volunteer for a makeover team, go to www.TacomaMakeover or contact the volunteer coordinator at (253) 382-2780.  Lunch will be provided to the volunteers.

Workshops offerings include classes on rain barrels, residential rain gardens, tree care and pruning.  The classes are free and open to the public.  Visit for a listing of available classes, times and locations.  To follow the program on Facebook go to

Safe, Clean and Attractive is an effort by the City of Tacoma to partner residents and city employees to make Tacoma safer, cleaner and more attractive.  Teams work within existing budgets and harness community resource to make improvements.  For more information, go to Neighborhood makeover Week is a collaborative effort involving City employees, Rebuilding Together South Sound, WSU Extension Master Gardeners, The University of Washington Urban Studies Program’s CIVITAS group, Communities in Schools, Tacoma 360 and other individuals and organizations.