Metro Parks Tacoma: Seminar invites contractors to learn more about $198M construction projects

Two years ago, Tacoma voters approved a $198 million capital improvement bond to help pay for more than 60 Metro Parks Tacoma projects.

After more than a year of design and preparations, several of the biggest projects will start moving dirt in the next few months, such as a new aquarium for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, waterfront improvements at Point Defiance Park, improvements at Swan Creek Park, a dock replacement project at Wapato Park, upgraded pathways and furnishings at Browns Point Lighthouse, upgraded lighting at the Point Defiance Marina, and accessibility improvements at Tacoma Nature Center. Meanwhile, Tacoma Public Schools will begin work on an Environmental Learning Center at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to serve school district students as well as the Zoo’s educational programs. Metro Parks Tacoma is also is collaborating with community partners to build a new community center for Tacoma’s Eastside.

Metro Parks Tacoma and Turner Construction Co., Metro Parks Tacoma’s general contractor for the aquarium project, is encouraging local companies to learn about opportunities during a subcontractor outreach seminar beginning at 8 a.m. on Fri., March 18, at STAR Center, located at 3873 S. 66th St., in Tacoma. A networking session starts at 7:30 a.m. McGranahan Architects, the school district’s architect for the Environmental Learning Center, also will present information, along with representatives from the City of Tacoma’s Local Employment and Apprenticeship Training Program (LEAP) and the City’s Office of Small Business Enterprise. RSVPs are required by Weds., March 16. Email to reserve a space.

“We’re getting ready to start major projects across the park district,” said Metro Parks Tacoma Director of Planning and Development Debbie Terwilleger, who is overseeing projects worth more than $70 million in the first two years alone. “We hope to see lots of interest from contractors. We hope that giving them information about upcoming projects in advance puts them in a good position to make competitive bids.”

More information is available online at