Located on the banks of the Puget Sound, the port city of Tacoma, Washington, has undergone significant revitalization over the past 20 years. With the two military bases bringing a constant stream of steady employment to the area, Tacoma has been able to preserve its historical heritage while adding new cultural attractions to the area. One part of this shift is the Sister City program, which allows Tacoma to trade cultural activities with 12 other international cities.
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Tacoma's Housing MarketIn Tacoma, the 2011 estimated median value for a house or condo was $207,000. Of the residential housing, 58.9 percent are owner occupied and 41.1 percent are rented. Vacancy rates in Tacoma hover around 6 percent, but only half of those empty properties are available. Home sales are up significantly all over Pierce County; in June 2013, 1,118 units were sold, representing a 32.6 percent increase over the same period in 2012. Due to the increase in real estate sales, finding rent to own homes can be difficult. Many homeowners have found that their asking price is met within weeks because real estate inventory remains low.
Tacoma Fairs and Other EventsEach year, Tacoma residents and visitors look forward to the largest annual event held in Washington -- the Puyallup Fair. Over one million people come to Tacoma in September to enjoy fair foods, rides, exhibits, and outdoor concerts. The Western Washington Fair Association holds a smaller, four-day fair in the spring. For those looking for more fair fun, the Fourth of July Tacoma Freedom Fair has tons of live music, beer gardens, an airshow, a car show, and a truly impressive fireworks display.
Tacoma Industries and EmployersWhile Tacoma was once a city known for its manufacturing and fishing, current residents are more likely to be employed by the government. Tacoma is near the Fort Lewis Army Post and the McChord Air Force Base; together they employ roughly 40,000 city residents. The third largest employer is Washington State, which has nearly 8,000 workers. Education and health services also employ a significant portion of the workforce in Tacoma.
Neighborhoods in TacomaWhile there are dozens of smaller communities in Tacoma, the city government has divided the area into eight neighborhoods. Each area has its own neighborhood council, which advises the city government and undertakes its own improvement initiatives.
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