City celebrates historic $4 million Wright Park restoration Saturday

Metro Parks Tacoma announced yesterday it will celebrate the completion of a $4 million restoration of historic Wright Park Saturday from 1pm to 3pm.
Established in 1886, the 27-acre downtown arboretum began undergoing a major renewal last August. The project was funded by an $84.3 million parks improvement bond approved by voters in 2005.
An eighteen month public planning process led to development of the park’s Master Plan, which centers on the community’s desire to preserve and retain the park’s unique and historic character, protect and add to its rich bio-diversity of trees, enhance infrastructure for events such as the annual Ethnic Fest celebration, and improve public safety.
Some of the park improvements include:
— Restoration of a major focal point of the park by removing potentially dangerous, self-seeded trees from the pond wall; dredging, relining and shoring it banks; and adding a fountain and aeration system which helps circulate water flow while providing dynamic visual appeal;
— Refurbishing the iconic maiden and lion statues donated to the park by Clinton Ferry in 1891 and prominently placing them at the park’s entry ways;
— Initiating Master Plan designs to re-establish the long view corridor which historically ran through the center of the park;
— Relocating the basketball court from the center of park to a more visible location for improved safety;
— Adding 97 trees and rerouting pathways to protect the root system the park’s Champion Sugar Maple;
— Renovating the 1930’s brick restroom constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA); retaining the historic exterior of the building while modernizing the interior for safety and efficiency;
— Upgrading the electrical system for safety and enhancement of events
— Renovating the Bowling Green and horse shoe pits that have been part of the park for nearly 80 years;
An unexpected improvement occurred when construction workers recovered the head and other pieces of a statue that had stood on a small island in the middle of the pond for more than a century. Tacoma artist Lynn Di Nino restored the statue, recreating facial features that were missing at the time of recovery. DiNino completed a portion of the restoration work at the park. She fashioned the lips and nose of the “Fisherman’s Daughter” statue in the likeness of those of the maiden statues located at the Division street entry.
For more information about Wright Park renovations, and events planned Saturday, visit .