Agreement could transfer 14 City-owned parks to Metro Parks

The City of Tacoma is considering a 10-year interlocal agreement that would transfer the ownership and maintenance of 14 City-owned...

The City of Tacoma is considering a 10-year interlocal agreement that would transfer the ownership and maintenance of 14 City-owned parks to the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma, according to a presentation Tuesday at City Hall.

If approved, the interlocal agreement would take effect Jan. 1 and expire Dec. 31, 2018. It would also direct the City to pay $3.087 million per year to Metro Parks for the operation and maintenance of the parks. Beginning in 2010, the yearly charge would be reduced by $100,000 per calendar year and would not be adjusted for inflation.

The 14 city-owned parks identified in the agreement include Alderwood Park; Alling Park; Baltimore Park; Celebration Park; Cloverdale Park; Fern Hill Park; Lincoln/Eldridge Park; Lots for Tots; Neighbors Park; North Slope Historical Park; People’s Park; Sawyer Tot Lot; Sheridan Park; and Ursich Park.

Tacoma City Council reviewed a draft version of the agreement yesterday during its noon study session. Council is expected to revisit the item during its regular meeting Oct. 21.

According to City Manager Eric Anderson, who briefed councilmembers and worked closely with Metro Parks executive director Jack Wilson on creating an agreement, the move is designed to centralize parks maintenance and operations with Metro Parks, and spur the development of a long-term, sustainable plan to fund these services.

“There’s a better agreement to be found,” said Anderson, referring to work ahead in identifying another source of park maintenance funding. “We hope to substitute a better source of revenue.” Still, he added that the 10-year agreement “provides consistent support” for local parks.

The agreement also identifies four City-owned parks — Point Defiance; Ruston Way parks and facilities; Peoples Community Center; South End neighborhood center — that could also be transferred to Metro Parks at a later date.

In 2004, the City and Metro Parks entered into a similar agreement to jointly own and operate several other City-owned parks throughout Tacoma. The current agreement being considered would update the 2004 agreement and transfer ownership and maintenance of China Lake, Garfield Park, and McKinley Park from the City to Metro Parks.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the City would pay $3.087 million per month to Metro Parks for operation and maintenance of the parks. The figure is actually $3.087 million per year. We apologize for the error.

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