Pierce County opens public observation area at Tacoma Narrows Airport

Aviation enthusiasts now have a new place to take in the sights and sounds of an active regional airport, thanks...

Aviation enthusiasts now have a new place to take in the sights and sounds of an active regional airport, thanks to Tacoma Narrows Airport’s new observation area.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new area, which will be known as the Rotary Aviation Zone, was held on Weds., June 3, in Gig Harbor (see “New observation area at Tacoma Narrows Airport opens June 3,” Tacoma Daily Index, May 28, 2015). The zone features an ADA-accessible observation tower with a front-row view of the runway, a speaker that transmits radio calls between pilots and air traffic controllers, a viewing shelter and tables. Future plans include adding educational displays about aviation and the airport, additional lighting, and potentially a small mounted airplane.

“People of all ages and abilities can visit this new area to watch planes fly in and out and learn more about aviation,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “Tacoma Narrows Airport has so much to offer pilots, businesses and visitors, and I am hoping this site inspires even more interest in aviation in Pierce County.”

Speakers at the event included Executive McCarthy; Councilmember Derek Young (District 7); Deb Wallace, Public Works Airport and Ferry Administrator; Dick Vanberg, The Rotary of Gig Harbor president; Roger Gruener, the Friends of Tacoma Narrows Airport (FOTNA) vice president; and Oliver Magnuson, one of the project’s construction managers.

The zone is a joint effort between The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, FOTNA, and Pierce County. Funding was provided by all three organizations, while the concept and volunteer work to build the zone was handled by The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor and FOTNA.

The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor contributed approximately $25,000 toward the structures, while FOTNA contributed nearly $5,000 to the site. Pierce County contributed approximately $18,000 to pay for materials.

The observation tower and viewing shelter were designed by Jim Castino, principal at Castino Architecture. Oliver Magnuson and Randy Barcalow served as construction managers. Brett Marlo DeSantis of Brett Marlo Designs served as the site designer. The roofs of the observation tower and shelter were provided by Spencer Aircraft, Wayne’s Roofing, and Scott & From Co. Inc. Tacoma Narrows Aviation provided the fencing around the site.

The Tacoma Narrows Airport is located at 1202 26th Ave. NW, in Gig Harbor. More information is available online at piercecountywa.org/tacomanarrows.

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