Urban Waters groundbreaking ceremony April 15

The City of Tacoma announced today it will host a groundbreaking ceremony April 15 for the $40 million Center for Urban Waters project. The event will occur at 10 a.m. on the street adjacent to the building site at 326 East D Street, on the east side of the Thea Foss Waterway.

No on-site parking is available, but shuttles will take visitors directly to the celebration from two locations:

— The Tacoma Dome Parking Lot A every 10 minutes starting at 9:30 a.m. The last shuttle will depart at 10:20 a.m.

— The Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, every 15 minutes starting at 9:30 a.m. The last shuttle to the site will depart at 10:15 a.m.

After the event, the shuttle service will take visitors to the Tacoma Dome Parking Lot A or the Tacoma Municipal Building. The last shuttle will leave the site at 12:15 p.m. Shuttles are airporter-size shuttles, holding approximately 20 passengers each.

Speakers will include City of Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma; City of Tacoma Councilmember Connie Ladenburg; Congressman Norm Dicks; David Dicks, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership; Dr. Joel E. Baker, Professor and Port of Tacoma Chair in Environmental Science, University of Washington Tacoma; Jim Waldo, Chair of the Urban Waters Board of Directors; and Clare Petrich, Eastside Foss Business Owner and Port of Tacoma Commissioner.

When completed in spring 2010, the Center for Urban Waters will primarily house staff from the City’s Environmental Services analytical laboratories and Science and Engineering Division. These units have outgrown their current facilities and are working in temporary trailers. The new facility will provide for work efficiencies and improve communication among staff members.

The University of Washington Tacoma will lease a small portion of the new facility for marine research being conducted by the Port of Tacoma Chair and research staff. Dr. Joel Baker, who was selected as the first Port of Tacoma Chair, is the scientific adviser for the Urban Waters marine research center. The initial research interests of the center are:

— Ballast water and invasive species

— Urban water runoff and marine biotechnology

— Aquaculture

The Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency established in 2007 to lead efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound, will have an office at the Center for Urban Waters. According to Gov. Chris Gregoire, “Locating Puget Sound Partnership facilities alongside local, academic and private Puget Sound restoration efforts will encourage collaboration and lead to intellectual and technological marine research developments.”

For more information, visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=6357 or leave a message at (253) 591-5051.