By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
I’ve always been a huge fan of Tacoma’s parks.
One of the great things about Tacoma’s parks is that they are not limited to Tacoma.
And if you’ve visited any of them lately, you know that they have not been sitting still.
Tacoma’s parks offer activities, events, play areas and quiet wilderness to all ages, backgrounds, moods, interests and skill levels.
Even though these parks are available to anyone, they are truly OUR parks.
If you have not already, get out and enjoy them.
Here are just a few of the upcoming changes you can expect to see in some of Tacoma’s parks in the immediate and foreseeable future.
Spring of 2022
January and February; New pilings under the historic Point Defiance Marina Boathouse, to replace worn-out supports.
If you’ve been to the promenade along the water, you may have noticed that the concrete pilings holding up the boathouse are (or were) corroded by eons of seawater. If you get there soon, you can see the crane and crew in action.
The boathouse is as funky as ever, but will be several degrees more solid from now on.
In February you can see (and experience) new eco-friendly, kid-friendly playground surfacing at Wright Park and McCarver Park.
In March, the unveiling of the new rose arbor at Point Defiance Park.
Yes, that is the memorable (and photo friendly) tunnel of roses at the entrance of the park.
April 1: Opening of Nature Play Garden at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
April 30: Community celebration of the new area of Swan Creek Park, combining biking/hiking opportunities with nature exploration, music, food and fun.
If you have not been to Swan Creek Park, (or even if you have) you have a full range of adventures waiting for you.
In April, design begins for upgrades to the bridge, lagoon and culvert at Titlow Park, with community input.
Again, if you have not been to this park recently, (or even if you have) you have a full range of adventures (and spectacular views of storms and sunsets) waiting for you.
Beginning May 7, look for the opening of new animal show at the Zoo’s Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater.
And, on May 14: look for the long-awaited grand re-opening of the historic W.W. Seymour Conservatory (in Wright Park) with vivarium, living plant wall, new HVAC heating system, upgraded glass planes, rest rooms, office, paths, parking and gift shop.
Yes! Rest rooms!
Summer will bring us the opening of a new electric tram tour station at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, with eco-friendly “people-movers” that roll quietly through the Free-Roaming Area past bison, elk, moose and other local creatures.
And yes, the re-opening of Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park, including new, safe vehicle/pedestrian/bike access roads; new pavilion, plaza, paths and seating; ocean-themed play area, ADA/elder access and viewpoints; and signage/design around traditional historic Indigenous use as Canoe Journey pullout.
You can see details here: https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/project/owen-beach-improvements/.
Construction begins at Tacoma Nature Center, AKA Snake Lake, (S. 19th & Stevens) on new ADA entry path, roofing.
Construction begins on an entirely new neighborhood park that will be known as Gas Station Park (4801 South Park Ave), with tricycle pathways, play area, trees, shelter and more.
Fall might seem like a long time from now, but by then construction will begin on the new Clerk’s House building at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.
Work begins on Melanie’s Park (https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/project/melanies-park/) on Thea Foss Waterway.
Once occupied by a steam plant, the proposed Melanie Jan LaPlant Dressel Park will reflect the industrial heritage, common to the Foss Waterway and the Tacoma Tideflats and inspires the playful design theme.
You can also see multiple improvements to community and neighborhood parks in your local area,
To keep up to date on progress of a whole range of park related improvements and changes keep an eye on this site: metroparkstacoma.org/about/capital-projects.
In times of pandemic, economic uncertainty and political divisiveness, the one thing we can all agree on, and where we can find some refreshment and restoration, is our local park system.
From wandering moose to slides and scenery, to places of solitude or wilderness or history programs for all ages and interests, Tacoma has it all.