Special Use Permits for Public Events

There are three steps in the application process:

  1. Submit application no less than 30 days prior to proposed event.
  2. Permit Review Committee meets and reviews applications monthly.
  3. Applicant is notified of application approval/denial, final required items, and collection of remaining fees/documents.

Before you begin please read this document
Special Use Permit Guidelines & Procedures

Questions? Contact Us
(253) 305-1006


2020 Special Use Permit Applications will not be made available until January 2020. Please check back to this site in January 2020. If you have questions, please contact us.

Step 1 - The Application (2019)

Step 1 – The Application
Download a 2019 application (The 2020 application will be available in January)

Submit your application no less than 30 days prior to the scheduled event. Applications submitted less than 30 days in advance may be denied or rescheduled to a late date. Applications can be submitted the following ways:

  • By Email: permits@tacomaparks.com (preferred)
  • In Person: Metro Parks Headquarters, 4702 S. 19th Street, Tacoma, 98405
  • By U.S. Mail: Metro Parks Tacoma, Attn: Permits, 4702 S. 19th St., Tacoma, WA, 98405

Please note: Closure of a City of Tacoma street that abuts a Metro Parks Tacoma park also requires a City of Tacoma Special Event Permit. Contact: Kala Dralle at kdralle@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 573-2523

Step 2 - The Review Process

Step 2 – The Review Process
The Special Use Permit Review Committee, which meets on the first Tuesday of every month, reviews applications and makes the final determination on:

  • # of Garbage totes
  • # of Portable restrooms
  • Site map/layout
  • Recycling plan and # of containers
  • Traffic/parking plans
  • Utilities access
  • Public safety plans

Step 3 - Approval/Denial & Follow-Up

Step 3 – Approval/Denial & Follow-Up

Following the monthly Committee meeting, staff will contact the applicant regarding the approval or denial of the permit request and any outstanding permit requirements and fees that need to be collected.

Once all conditions have been met, a final permit may be issued.

Special Use Permit Fees

Special Use Permit Fees (non-refundable)

  • Non-Profit $150 + Reimbursable Fees
    (To obtain the non-profit application fee proof of non-profit status must be submitted in writing.)
  • For Profit $250 + Reimbursable

Reimbursable fees, if ordered through Metro Parks, may include, but not limited to:

  • Garbage totes
    • $ 65 per 300-gallon container
    • $ 30 per 90-gallon recycling
  • Portable toilets
    • $ 95 Regular unit
    • $155 ADA unit
  • Water access $ 75
  • Electricity access $ 75
  • Police $ 75 per officer, per hour; 3-hour minimum required

Fees for Walks/Runs
Point Defiance Park, Ruston Way Parks and Swan Creek Park require an additional per participant fee for each walker/runner registered.

Application fee + per participant fees
$1/Per Participant – Non-Profit
$2/Per Participant – For Profit

Additional Information
If you are offering a complimentary community event that meets all of the below requirements your Special Use Permit application fee will be reduced to $75.

  • Community event open to the Public
  • Event must be free to attend (donations and/or registration fees are prohibited)
  • Non-profit organization must be within Tacoma city limits – business/mailing address
  • On-site vendor sales are limited to food and non-alcoholic beverages only
  • Total event attendance is limited to 500 people or less
  • Damage deposit and reimbursable fees are required

Special Use Permit Location Options

Special Use Permit Location Options
Special Use Permits are issued for the following parks:

Regional Parks
Swan Creek Park Approved Swan Creek layout map

Ruston Way Parks

  • Cummings Park
  • Dickman Mill Park
  • Jack Hyde Park
  • Ruston Way Waterwalk

Walks and runs staging/finishing in parks and running on Ruston Way and WaterWalk sidewalks are limited to 250 registered applicants.

If the estimated attendance exceeds 250, a road closure may be an option during certain times of the year and off-site staging/finishing areas may be required.

For event road closures contact the City of Tacoma’s Special Events Office at (253) 573-2523, or email kdralle@cityoftacoma.org.

The WaterWalk is not available for staging start/finish lines for walks/runs. Special Use Permits for walks/runs on Ruston Way and the WaterWalk are not issued during June – August.

Point Defiance Park 

  • Walks/runs are not permitted at Point Defiance June-August.
  • Owen Beach (plus Owen Beach picnic shelter rental fee)

Walks and runs staging/finishing at Owen Beach and running through Point Defiance Park on pre-determined routes are limited to 500 registered applicants.

Due to public safety, predetermined walk/run routes have been established in Point Defiance Park: 2K route map5K route map8K route map10K route map

For the safety of both runners and park patrons, certain pre-determined routes will require police officers to be present at specified locations. Officers are required at any location where runners will cross a lane of traffic, as well as at the outer loop gate to ensure the security of the park.

Signature Community Parks

Community Parks

  • Franklin Park
  • Jefferson Park
  • Verlo Playfield
  • Portland Avenue Park
  • Vassault Park

Urban Parks

  • Old Town Park
  • People’s Park
  • Thea’s Park

Green Events

Green Event Application
Green Event applications must be received no less than 60 days before the event date.

Events that achieve Green Excellence certification may be eligible for Environmental Services Event Support. This can include free or discount services such as garbage, recycling, food waste bins, and/or portable toilets. You will receive the optional Environmental Services Event Support request form via email only after your event has achieved Green Excellence certification.

Environmental Services support requests must be received no less than 30 days before the event date.