Year In Review: Old Town Dock Restoration

Tacoma’s once-crumbling and shuttered 140-year-old Old Town Dock reopened this year following a major restoration project.

The dock, located at 2123 Schuster Parkway and stretching out toward Commencement Bay, dates back to 1873 and has been a hub for a variety of activities: a wharf for commercial fishing vessels; a chance to get closer to the water while visiting Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood; a place for emergency services such as the Coast Guard and Tacoma Fire to hold rescue exercises; and a quiet spot to fish on a sunny afternoon.

It was closed to the public in the summer of 2008 for a variety of safety reasons, including a deteriorating deck and structural deficiencies.

The dock reopened in May following a $2.3 million renovation. Visitors can now enjoy views from the new benches, improved lighting, and two new slips that can moor vessels up to 40 feet and 60 feet, as well as low, free-board floats extending off the main dock to accommodate kayakers. In addition, the new dock grating increases light penetration beneath and around the dock by 30 percent to better serve the salmon population nearby.

In June, Metro Parks Tacoma formally unveiled “Droplets,” an illustrated scavenger hunt created by Tacoma artist Chandler O’Leary that challenges visitors to discover the history, importance, and beauty of this location. According to Metro Parks Tacoma officials, Old Town Dock has been host and witness to a wide variety of industries, events, neighborhood dynamics, natural history, celebrations, tragedies, and everyday narratives. O’Leary’s artwork includes 24 vignettes that provide a glimpse of some of the true stories that have unfolded on or near this site over the years.

Tacoma residents gathered May 15 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen Old Town Dock. (PHOTO COURTESY METRO PARKS TACOMA)

Tacoma residents gathered May 15 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen Old Town Dock. (PHOTO COURTESY METRO PARKS TACOMA)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Old Town Dock rehabilitation project, click on the following links: