The dock, located at 2123 Schuster Parkway and stretching out into Commencement Bay, dates back to 1873 and has been a hub for a variety of activities: a wharf for commercial fishing vessels; a chance to get closer to the water while visiting Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood; a place for emergency services such as the Coast Guard and Tacoma Fire to hold rescue exercises; and a quiet spot to cast rod-and-reel and do some fishing on a sunny afternoon.
In July 2008, however, it was closed to the public after the city’s public works department deemed it a danger to visitors. The deck was deteriorating and the structure lacked hand rails. In 2009, underwater inspections revealed structural deficiencies. The following year, a public meeting was held in Old Town to share the results of a structural survey that aimed 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. Later that year, Tacoma City Council awarded a $319,000 contract to Reid Middleton to perform design, permitting, and construction support services for the repairs. The City contributed $159,500; Metro Parks contributed $159,500. In 2011, Tacoma City Council approved an additional $30,890 toward the project to cover additional design services.
Last August, Tacoma City Council awarded a $1.7 million contract to Quigg Bros., Inc. to complete the rehabilitation project, which included replacing deteriorated wooden pilings, structural members, and decking; installing new hand rails, lighting, and fire suppression on the dock; re-aligning the main breakwater float; installing three new finger floats to allow for transient moorage; and making upland improvements that would meet Americans with Disability Act requirements.
In November 2005, Tacoma voters approved an $84.3 million bond measure to fund a variety of park improvements through 2013. The park improvements include $5.5 million to be directed toward matching funds for the promenade extension through the Asarco site to Point Defiance, reconstruction of Old Town Dock, new site lighting and furnishings, and utilities, restroom and concession renovations.
To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Old Town Dock rehabilitation project, click on the following links:
- Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — August 2012 (Tacoma Daily Index, Sept. 5, 2012);
- Tacoma’s Old Town Dock could be repaired by next summer (Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 22, 2012);
- Contract approval would kick off Old Town Dock rehab (Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 20, 2012);
- Public art part of $2M Old Town Dock rehab (Tacoma Daily Index, June 8, 2012);
- Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — April 16 – April 22 (Tacoma Daily Index, April 23, 2012);
- $2M Old Town Dock project could begin this summer (Tacoma Daily Index, April 17, 2012);
- Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — Nov. 28 – Dec. 4 (Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 5, 2011);
- Delay for $2M Old Town Dock rehab? (Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 29, 2011);
- Additional funding approved, new restrooms considered for Old Town Dock rehab (Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 19, 2011);
- Year In Review — Old Town Dock (Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 21, 2010);
- City approves funding for Old Town Dock repairs (Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 27, 2010);
- Tacoma City Council to vote on contract for Old Town Dock repair (Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 18, 2010);
- $2M Old Town Dock rehab will take 2 years (Tacoma Daily Index, July 30, 2010);
- City, Metro Parks move forward on $2M Old Town Dock rehabilitation (Tacoma Daily Index, July 14, 2010);
- $1M matching funds eyed for Old Town Dock rehab (Tacoma Daily Index, June 18, 2010);
- City, Metro Parks to discuss future of shuttered Old Town Dock (Tacoma Daily Index, June 16, 2010);
- City restricts Old Town Dock access (Tacoma Daily Index, July 11, 2008).