City, Metro Parks awarded nearly $1M for Foss Waterway, Wapato Park projects

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board will recognize the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks next week for outstanding outdoor recreation projects. The organizations earned top scores in state and national competitions for grant funding in programs administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board.

The City of Tacoma was awarded a $750,000 grant for its project to build a boat moorage float on the Foss Waterway, which was a top project in the national competition for funding under the Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG) program. BIG grants use funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service for developing and renovating boating facilities for recreational boats 26 feet and larger. Tacoma’s project was one of only 14 projects in the nation, and the only one in Washington, that successfully competed for federal funding. Projects in Washington have won this funding only four other times since 2001. City officials plan to use the grant to build 400 lineal feet of a concrete float, with utilities, for guest moorage of larger boats on the waterfront.

The Tacoma Metropolitan Parks District garnered the highest score in a statewide competition, earning it a $231,000 grant to buy the last remaining privately owned waterfront property in Wapato Park. The park district scored the highest of 27 projects competing for funding under the water access category of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. The Legislature created the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program in 1990 to buy land before it was developed, and to create outdoor recreation areas for the state’s growing population. The park district will use the grant to buy about a quarter of an acre, completing its plan to buy all the privately owned land within the park. The property provides the public with the missing 45-foot link along the shoreline that will enable the district to complete a multi-purpose trail system around the lake and provide additional access to the water.

Steven Drew, a member of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, will present checks representing the funding available for these projects at the following times:

— Tacoma City Council, 5 p.m., Nov. 24, Tacoma Municipal Building, council chambers, 747 Market St.

— Tacoma Metropolitan Parks District, 6 p.m., Nov. 23, District headquarters, 4702 S. 19th St.