Tacoma City Council to vote on contract for Old Town Dock repair

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote Oct. 26 on a resolution that would authorize an agreement with a contractor to begin repairs to Old Town Dock.

In 2008, the 137-year-old dock, which is owned by the City of Tacoma and maintained by Metro Parks Tacoma, was closed to visitors after the City’s public works department deemed it a danger to visitors. The deck had deteriorated and the lack of a handrail made it a public safety concern.

If City Council approves the resolution, it would award a $319,000 contract to Reid Middleton to perform design, permitting, and construction support services for the repairs. The City would fund $159,500; Metro Parks would fund $159,500. According to documentation submitted with the resolution, the project would complete repairs to reopen the dock and bring it up to current code. The documents also show the City is in violation of an agreement with the Washington State Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation requiring the pier to be open for water-based activities.

In July, Metro Parks and the City announced up to $2 million in bond funds — $1 million from a City bond and $1 million from a Metro Parks bond — were available to rehabilitate the structure. The wooden pier, which is located at 2123 Schuster Parkway and juts out from Schuster Parkway into Commencement Bay, has been a hub for a variety of activities. A public meeting was held June 23 in Old Town to share the results of a structural survey to assist in the repairs and modifications required to reopen the dock and outline the next steps. A five-person advisory group was created to guide the process. Two assessments were completed to determine the extent of damage and establish a project budget.

Also in July, Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson noted in one of his weekly reports to City Council that a two-year permitting time frame is expected for the project, according to public works staff.

“Actual permitting time required will depend on the backlog at the various agencies, review times, and additional information or requirements requested by the permitting agencies,” wrote Anderson in the July 22 report. “This project is also affected by the fish window and must occur when in-water work is allowed. The schedule takes this additional constraint into account and allows one year for construction. The project will be completed in as timely a manner as possible.”