Additional funding approved, new restrooms considered for Old Town Dock rehab

The City of Tacoma will spend an additional $30,890.00 on a project to repair Old Town Dock, according to action taken earlier this month by Tacoma City Council.

In 2008, the 137-year-old Old Town 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. In 2009, underwater inspections revealed structural deficiencies.

One year ago this month, City Council awarded a $319,000 contract to Reid Middleton to perform design, permitting, and construction support services for the repairs. The City will fund $159,500; Metro Parks will fund $159,500.

Last week, Public Works staff appeared before City Council for additional funding. “During the design, the City requested additional design services to include an underwater investigation to determine the cause of the main breakwater float drifting out of position and also determine necessary repairs,” wrote Tacoma Public Works Director Richard A. McKinley in an Oct. 4 memo included with a purchase resolution for the additional funding. That resolution was approved by City Council on Oct. 11. “Upland improvements included ADA access improvements to the dock, plantings, and an entry courtyard. Additional work was added to the contract at the request of the Army Corps of Engineers for an analysis of the repair work affects on the Marbled Murrelet population.”

During the Oct. 11 meeting, Jeffrey A. Jenkins, Tacoma’s Facilities Management Division Manager, told councilmembers the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks were considering a plan to build new rest room facilities at Old Town Dock. “I am sure all councilmembers are familiar with the Old Town Dock and some folks may be familiar with the fact that the rest room next to the dock has been closed for a long time,” Jenkins explained. “I wanted to let councilmembers know that a couple of board members from Metropolitan Parks indicated that they might be willing to co-fund the restoration or new construction of a facility there to meet the needs since we’re going to be obviously increasing people that are going to be coming off of boats and landing there at the Old Town Dock.”

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 recreational activities. A public meeting was held June 23, 2010, in Old Town to share the results of a structural survey to assist in the repairs and modifications required to reopen the dock and outline the next steps. A five-person advisory group was created to guide the process. Two assessments were completed to determine the extent of damage and establish a project budget.

According to Public Works staff, the total project will cost approximately $2 million and be completed in June 2013.