Construction is under way this week on the first phase of a major project at Point Defiance Park that aims to create a more accessible, active, and thriving waterfront, according to City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma officials.
A project cornerstone is the 5,500-square-foot Point Defiance Regional Treatment Facility, an innovative water treatment system designed to improve Puget Sound water quality. The facility features a series of six cascading pools that will channel runoff from streets and properties as far south as North 30th Street. Currently, polluted stormwater from the 754-acre watershed flows untreated before it spills into the Sound near Point Defiance Marina. That will change this winter, when the new facility is finished.
“You should see water moving through the system every time it rains,” said City of Tacoma engineer Jessica Knickerbocker. According to Knickerbocker, City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma officials began to explore the idea of building a treatment facility on park land four years ago in anticipation of changes along the waterfront. Knickerbocker researched several options, and the City received grant funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology.
“As far as we know, it’s never been done at this scale,” added Metro Parks Tacoma capitol projects manager Roger Stanton.
The first phase of the project will also create a larger vehicle/trailer parking area, an elevated walkway linking Ruston Way to Point Defiance Park, and a new 11-acre park on the peninsula (pictured below).
During construction, Point Defiance Park visitors may encounter occasional traffic disruptions caused by dirt-hauling trucks. According to City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma officials, the equivalent of about 150 dirt-hauling trucks per day will be working in the area this summer and fall, moving 100,000 cubic yards of dirt. Visitors may see construction workers flagging traffic to help get trucks in and out of the site.
Additionally, the project will reduce some of the parking area near the Pearl Street entrance, to the east of the ferry road. Most of the space is used for boat trailer parking in the summer. Directional signs will be used when possible to help people trying to use the lots. As the stormwater facility and several related projects advance, parking arrangements will be revised. Metro Parks Tacoma has contacted boating and fishing groups, will provide fliers with parking suggestions, and will reach out to park visitors in other ways, according to City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma officials.
The work is part of Destination Point Defiance, a broad and long-term initiative that will create a new aquarium and environmental learning center at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, viewpoint upgrades, and more improvements for Point Defiance Park. The 2014 capital bond measure is the catalyst for these improvements, which are also funded by Washington State taxpayers, the Asarco settlement, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Fund.
More information about Destination Point Defiance is available online at destinationpointdefiance.org.
To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Point Defiance Park, click on the following links:
- Fort Nisqually: Metro Parks Tacoma seeks contractor to develop museum’s long-range plan (Tacoma Daily Index, May 5, 2015)
- Metro Parks Tacoma: Public meetings scheduled to discuss Point Defiance Park Master Plan (Tacoma Daily Index, January 20, 2015)
- Point Defiance Park: Century-old Pagoda, former streetcar station now Tacoma historic landmark (Tacoma Daily Index, January 14, 2015)
- Point Defiance Park: Century-old Pagoda, former streetcar station could soon be Tacoma historic landmark (Tacoma Daily Index, January 5, 2015)
- Point Defiance Park: Public hearing scheduled for century-old Pagoda landmark nomination (Tacoma Daily Index, October 15, 2014)
- Century-old Point Defiance Pagoda nominated to Tacoma’s historic register (Tacoma Daily Index, September 22, 2014)
- Tacoma celebrates century-old Point Defiance Pagoda (Tacoma Daily Index, May 19, 2014)
- Celebrate Point Defiance Park Pagoda centennial May 18 (Tacoma Daily Index, April 28, 2014)
- Tacoma Mall Macy’s fundraiser could net $250K for Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, March 7, 2014)
- Metro Parks Tacoma completes Fort Nisqually Granary Building preservation project (Tacoma Daily Index, February 4, 2014)
- Metro Parks Tacoma awarded $500K for Point Defiance Park waterfront trail project (Tacoma Daily Index, October 29, 2013)
- Tacoma City Council to discuss Destination Point Defiance, North Downtown development plan (Tacoma Daily Index, September 27, 2013)
- Waterfront streets between Tacoma Dome, Point Defiance Park to open for cyclists, pedestrians (Tacoma Daily Index, September 3, 2013)
- Metro Parks Tacoma awarded $3M for Point Defiance Park projects (Tacoma Daily Index, July 11, 2013)
- Murray Morgan Bridge, Point Defiance Park among Tacoma’s 11 Wonders (Tacoma Daily Index, February 13, 2013)
- Volunteers create 1,000 cranes for Point Defiance Pagoda grand re-opening (Tacoma Daily Index, December 11, 2012)
- Major irrigation main upgrade ahead for Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, August 30, 2012)
- Point Defiance Park visitors center, park shuttle service to open Memorial Weekend (Tacoma Daily Index, May 7, 2012)
- Share your thoughts on “missing link” between Ruston Way, Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, February 15, 2012)
- Year In Review: Point Defiance Park pagoda arson (Tacoma Daily Index, December 20, 2011)
- Teen receives maximum sentence for Point Defiance Park Pagoda arson (Tacoma Daily Index, October 12, 2011)
- Tacoma’s Great Space: Point Defiance Park earns national honor (Tacoma Daily Index, October 4, 2011)
- Pierce County Prosecutor: Charges filed in Point Defiance arson (Tacoma Daily Index, April 26, 2011)
- Metro Parks pursues restoration plans, emergency remediation for historic pagoda (Tacoma Daily Index, April 20, 2011)
- Fire fighters battle blaze at historic Point Defiance pagoda (Tacoma Daily Index, April 15, 2011)
- Help plan Point Defiance Park hillside vegetation (Tacoma Daily Index, October 6, 2010)
- Journey through time with Fort Nisqually Brigade Encampment (Tacoma Daily Index, July 29, 2010)
- Fort Nisqually Family Fun Night July 23 (Tacoma Daily Index, July 8, 2010)
- Tacoma resident competes for ‘Dream Dog Park’ dollars for Point Defiance (Tacoma Daily Index, July 1, 2010)
- Kiosk improvements at Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, June 10, 2010)
- Historic Point Defiance Rose Garden boosters compete for $2,500, national recognition (Tacoma Daily Index, March 30, 2010)
- Tree removals planned at Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, September 23, 2009)
- Metro Parks: Wildlife assaults reported at Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, February 6, 2009)
- Metro Parks will prune, remove damaged trees (Tacoma Daily Index, December 11, 2008)
- Fort Nisqually Candlelight Tours in October (Tacoma Daily Index, August 27, 2008)
- 23 trees will be removed at Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, January 29, 2008)
- Changes in store for Point Defiance Park Master Plan (Tacoma Daily Index, December 12, 2007)
- Cityscape: Point Defiance Park (Tacoma Daily Index, January 13, 2006)
- Council expected to support Parks Bond (Tacoma Daily Index, September 15, 2005)
- Five Mile Drive closed Aug. 30 for upgrades (Tacoma Daily Index, August 23, 2005)
- Pierce Transit, Point Defiance roll out colorful Zoo Bus (Tacoma Daily Index, July 6, 2004)
- Contractor selected for next phase of construction at Point Defiance (Tacoma Daily Index, September 26, 2003)
- Construction begins on Point Defiance’s amphitheater (Tacoma Daily Index, December 10, 2002)