City welcomes Chinese Reconciliation Park

The City of Tacoma will join with friends from the Far East this week to break ground on a $2 million phase of Chinese Reconciliation Park.

Citizens, local dignitaries and delegates from the Chinese government will gather from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 19 at the location on Ruston Way to usher in the city’s most visual step to reconcile the 1885 expulsion of Chinese inhabitants, when 600 Chinese residents were forcibly removed.

“The construction of Chinese Reconciliation Park illustrates the city’s commitment to the prosperity, not disparity, of all of our citizens,” said Mayor Bill Baarsma. “This was a tragic event in Tacoma’s history, and the leadership of our city wants to recognize the past suffering of many of this community’s pioneers and prevent such an atrocity from ever happening again. With the help of this symbolic park, our future leaders will never forget what happened here in 1885.”

The Reconciliation Park festivities will include:

— Ceremony opening by Connie McCloud, Puyallup tribal elder.

— Chinese Lion dance troupe.

— Chinese and Filipino dancers.

With this first phase, the park’s amenities will include:

— A new seawall, beach areas and a ramp to the water.

— Walking paths, a Chinese garden, garden rooms and interpretive displays.

The City Council accepted a grant of $544, 221 from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and $478,099 from the States Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account for a combined $1,032,320. The grants were awarded by the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation. The Chinese Reconciliation Foundation also donated $20,000 in cash or in-kind equivalents from for the first phase of construction. The city matched grant funds with $1,019,679 from the Open Space fund and another State grant for a combined total of $2,017,999. As additional funding is raised, consecutive phases of the park will be built.