Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Park awarded $388K heritage grant

The City of Tacoma has been awarded a $388,000 grant from the Washington State Historical Society to help pay for the third phase of the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park project. The money will help pay for park enhancements such as the installation of a perimeter fence with a Chinese motif, interpretive and wayfinding signage, lights for the parking lot, landscaping, and an irrigation system. The grant calls for the City of Tacoma to contribute $60,000 in matching funds, which is included in the current biennial budget, according to Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax’s most recent weekly report to Tacoma City Council.

The grant is part of the Washington State Historical Society‘s Heritage Capital Projects Fund program. The City of Tacoma must spend the money on the project by June 30, 2015.

The Chinese Reconciliation Park, which overlooks Commencement Bay, opened two years ago. It aims to commemorate the events of Nov. 3, 1885, when a group that included a Tacoma city councilmember, judge, sheriff, and mayor forced more than 200 Chinese from their homes and businesses. The park’s development has been guided by the non-profit Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation. In 2005, more than 100 people gathered for a ceremony to mark the ground-breaking of the $12 million, four-acre park, which is located near Ruston Way and on land owned by the city and formerly occupied by the National Guard. Today, park visitors enjoy a garden, 800-foot-long sea wall, winding foot paths, bridge, public art, interpretive displays, and recreation areas. In October 2010, park organizers and members of city council and the general public marched 2.5 miles from downtown Tacoma to the waterfront park to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the expulsion.

Tacoma's Chinese Reconciliation Park. (FILE PHOTOS BY TODD MATTHEWS)

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