Exciting times for Metro Parks Tacoma; Park Board Notes March 2017
March 17, 2017
These are very busy times for Metro Parks Tacoma. Over the past year, several big projects broke ground at Point Defiance Park, including the park on the peninsula, the Pacific Seas Aquarium, and the Environmental Learning Center, a Tacoma Public Schools-led project that will provide educational enrichment opportunities for the Science and Math Institute as well as Zoo visitors and staff.
In September, we celebrated the grand opening of the People’s Community Center pool on Hilltop and, since then, we’ve seen many community members jump right into the pool! We're working with Tacoma Public Schools to offer swim lessons to elementary and middle school students there.
Perhaps most notable in 2016 was movement on the long-awaited prospect of the Eastside Community Center, in no small part through the longstanding dedication of Shalisa Hayes, a local mother who took action on the dream of her late son to create a safe place for kids and families to learn and play. The center was then made possible through many gracious donations and a dynamic partnership between Metro Parks Tacoma, the City of Tacoma, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, and Tacoma Housing Authority. As an Eastside Boys & Girls Club alum, I can attest to the necessity of community centers. The B&G Club provided me safe haven from the boredom and dangers of playing in the streets and taught me teamwork and sportsmanship, which helped establish my self-worth.
This year, Metro Parks received another $25,000 in funding from the Pierce County Council to keep expanding our Specialized Recreation programs for people with intellectual disabilities. These are some of our most precious and vulnerable citizens. It was a treat for me to attend last year's Cinderella Ball, a partnership with the Tacoma Yacht Club that provided magical memories for our Specialized Recreation participants. There were dozens of participants who received awards and were among many supporters and even more friends.
Keep an eye out for Pierce Transit's new Downtown to Defiance trolley this summer. We’re excited to be one of several community partners supporting the trolley and we hope you will take advantage of this fun way to visit downtown, the waterfront and Point Defiance. The trolley will operate Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 2 through Sept. 3. Stay tuned for more details from Pierce Transit.
Jessie K. Baines Jr. was elected to the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners in 2015.