Metro Parks busy 2017, big plans for 2018

2017 was a busy year for Metro Parks. In addition to great programs, camps, nature walks and all those other things you’d expect a park district to offer, Metro Parks did a few things you don’t see every year:

Developed a partnership with Cambia Health Solutions to expand Dickman Mill Park, restore the historic head saw there and support a new event lawn at Point Defiance Park.

Replaced the pedestrian bridge in Wright Park.

Successfully treated Wapato Lake against toxic algae and started replacement of the lake’s docks.

Dedicated a sports field to the late Bob Maguinez

Participated in the Downtown to Defiance trolley pilot.

Began construction on a new community center for Tacoma’s Eastside.

Celebrated being named a Gold Medal finalist by the National Recreation and Parks Association.

That’s just a partial list. And that was just 2017.

As some staff members note, 2018 is on track to be the “biggest” year in Metro Parks history. On the horizon are several major grand openings, planning efforts and new programs. Three grand openings stand out:

Eastside Community Center, a public-private partnership that will bring to Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood a 55,000 square foot facility featuring a swimming pool, gym, Boys & Girls Club programming, cooking classes and more.

The peninsula at Point Defiance Park and the Wilson Way pedestrian bridge that will link the park’s trails to Point Ruston and Ruston Way.

The new Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

All are aiming for mid-year openings (depending on how construction goes over the winter). We will let you know as opening dates get confirmed so you can help celebrate.

Also in 2018, expect Metro Parks to ask you to share thoughts and ideas for three major recreational areas:

Metro Parks and the City of Tacoma are working together to plan for the Ruston Way waterfront’s future needs.

Titlow Park’s master plan needs to be updated to more clearly address  the park’s natural areas and shoreline.

Swan Creek Park is primed for opportunities to grow into a major regional park on par with Point Defiance, and we will be talking with you about the possibilities.

For all three of those, we will host public meetings, conduct online surveys and seek other ways for you to give input.

And also coming in 2018 are more construction projects, starting with a roundabout for Point Defiance Park’s Pearl Street entrance that will improve safety and traffic flow.

The $198 million capital improvement bond that voters approved in 2014 fuels most of these projects.

What’s more, the park district has leveraged the bond to bring in millions in additional funding from grants, other agencies and donations. All of it is directed at benefiting residents who live in the Metro Parks Tacoma district – and beyond.

                                                    – Metro Parks