City Council to discuss $7M shortfall for Chinese Reconciliation Project

Tacoma City Council this week will learn more about funding challenges facing the Chinese Reconciliation Park presently under construction along Schuster Parkway and overlooking Commencement Bay.

At issue is $7 million needed for the last two phases of a project that broke ground in 2005 to commemorate the events of Nov. 3, 1885, when a racist group that included a city councilman, judge, sheriff, and the mayor forced more than 200 Chinese from their Tacoma homes and businesses. The vacant homes were then looted and burned to the ground.

The park’s development has been guided by the non-profit Chinese Reconciliation Foundation Project, an organization spearheaded by Tacoma resident Theresa Pan Hosley. In August 1995, more than 100 people gathered for a ceremony to mark the groundbreaking of the $12 million, four-acre park, which is located on land owned by the city and formerly occupied by the National Guard. Today, visitors to the partially-completed park will find a garden, 800-foot-long sea wall, winding foot paths, bridge, public art, interpretive displays, and recreation areas.

According to a memo written last week by Ryan Petty, Tacoma’s Community an Economic Development Department Director, to City Manager Eric Anderson, the $7 million shortfall needs to be closed in order to build the park’s Multicultural Pavilion, Reconciliation Hall, entrance gate, garden walls, and classrooms. “None of these future structures is funded,” notes Petty. “In addition to funding of the proposed structures, major issues and challenges associated with the project include maintenance and operation and programming. Staff has been and will continue to work with the Foundation and other pertinent entities to develop an appropriate approach to address these issue.”

City Council approved an ordinance Aug. 16, 2005, that allowed the City to accept two state grants worth approximately $1.03 million for the construction of the park. The ordinance also allowed the City to accept $20,000 in cash or in-kind equivalents from the Chinese Reconciliation Foundation and the City will match the grant funds with approximately $1.02 million from the Economic Development Special Revenue Fund.

City Council will discuss the Chinese Reconciliation Park during its study session Tues., June 22 at noon in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Room 16. Audio from the session will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and on .

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For additional photos of the park, pick up today’s print edition of the Tacoma Daily Index.