City Manager Anderson implements operating hours for 10 urban parks

Ten urban parks owned by the City of Tacoma are now subject to set hours of operations, according to action taken recently by the city manager.

On Aug. 23, City Manager Eric Anderson directed the city parks will open one-half-hour before sunrise, and close one-half-hour after sunset, and violators will face a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing, which could result in 90 days in jail, and a $1,000 fine.

In a memo to City Council, Anderson outlined the need for set hours at 10 City-operated parks, and two “mini” parks, citing reports of increased criminal activity at two of the 12 spots. “It has come to my attention that it would be beneficial if these same operating hours were applied to City park properties not operated by the Parks District,” says Anderson in the memo. “Police officers have responded to increasing problems at to specific City properties: Larry Frost Park and McCormick Park.”

The set hours of operation apply to the following 10 parks, and two mini parks:

— Alaska / Grant Triangle (South 23rd St. and Grant)

— Frost Park (South 9th St. and Pacific Ave.)

— Fireman’s Park (S. 9th St. and A St.)

— Neighborhood Park (N. 30th St. and Starr)

— Chinese Reconciliation Park (Schuster Pkwy and Ruston Way)

— McCormick Park (930 So. Fawcett)

— Harborview Park (So. 10th St. and Fawcett)

— Tacoma Park (So. 10th St. and Pacific Ave.)

— Triangle Park (St. Helens and Market St.)

— Pugnetti Park (So. 21st St. & Pacific Ave.)

— Mini Park (So. 10th St. and Pacific Ave.)

— Mini Park (So. 12th St. and Pacific Ave.)

According to assistant city attorney Jon Walker, who updated several councilmembers on the issue Sept. 13, during the public safety and human services committee meeting, the public works department is presently working on placing green signs with white lettering in the parks to notify visitors of the hours of operations, and the penalties for violators.

“Typically, folks will be asked to leave,” explained Walker. “Those who do not or who return may be arrested.” If one of the new signs has not been posted, police officers likely will not enforce the law unless there is additional reason to do so, added Walker.

Tacoma’s municipal code allows the city manager to set hours for City-owned properties and facilities. The new law also affords the hours to be extended for special events where a permit has been obtained.
Anderson’s action also aims to align City park hours with Metro park hours. City Council recently took action related to operating hours of parks owned or operated by Metropolitan Parks District of Tacoma and governed by the City’s Park Code.

On July 10, councilmembers unanimously approved Ordinance No. 27630, which amended Tacoma Municipal Code 8.27.220 relating to the operating hours of parks owned or operated by Metropolitan Parks District of Tacoma and governed by the City’s Park Code.