$2M Old Town Dock rehab will take 2 years

If you were hoping to take a stroll along Old Town Dock or cast a line out into Commencement Bay from the 137-year-old pier, you might have to wait a couple years. In 2008, the dock, which is owned by the City of Tacoma and maintained by Metro Parks Tacoma, was closed to visitors after the City’s public works department deemed it a danger to visitors. The deck had deteriorated and the lack of a handrail made it a public safety concern.

Earlier this month, Metro Parks and the City announced $2 million in bond funds — $1 million from a City bond and $1 million from a Metro Parks bond — are available to rehabilitate the structure. The wooden pier, which is located at 2123 Schuster Parkway and juts out from Schuster Parkway into Commencement Bay, has been a hub for a variety of activities. A public meeting was held June 23 in Old Town to share the results of a recent structural survey to assist in the repairs and modifications required to re-open the dock, and outline the next steps. A five-person advisory group has formed to guide the process. Design work should be completed by late summer.

However, Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson notes in his July 22 weekly report to City Council that a two-year permitting time frame is expected for the project, according to Public Works staff.

“Actual permitting time required will depend on the backlog at the various agencies, review times, and additional information or requirements requested by the permitting agencies,” writes Anderson. “This project is also affected by the fish window and must occur when in-water work is allowed. The schedule takes this additional constraint into account and allows one year for construction. The project will be completed in as timely a manner as possible.”

Tacoma's Old Town Dock. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)