#ImagineEastside update for August 10, 2017
It’s been a very busy summer for the #ImagineEastside project. Here are four quick updates:
- That very large hole in the ground next to First Creek Middle School means construction of the new community center is on schedule. It’s fun to see the crews work on the foundation for what will be the city’s newest pool when it opens next year.
- We also put up a “coming soon” sign at the intersection of Portland Avenue and 56th Street as well as two banners on the fence to show passersby what’s coming.
- We have done some talking – and a lot of listening – to users of Portland Avenue Community Center and Park. That includes two community meetings, surveys of park users, citizen comments at Metro Parks Board meetings, and numerous conversations in person and by phone.
After all of that, as well as considering our inventory of open spaces and future needs, the staff is recommending to the Park Board that the athletic fields at Portland Avenue Park be preserved. Public input also shows that the playground and restroom are high priorities, so those will factor into future plans as well. In fact, those community discussions have us thinking about taking a fresh look at the park so we can consider what kinds of improvements would be welcome in that open space. Staff will present this recommendation during the Park Board’s Aug. 14th meeting.
We still need to determine a viable future for the Portland Avenue Community Center building. Our financial plan for operating the new $31 million community center includes moving staff and operations from the Portland Avenue center and the aging Eastside Pool on the old Gault Middle School campus. We spent half of the Aug. 5th community meeting in small groups discussing ideas for the building and the park. We will send a newsletter update next week that contains a list of those ideas so you can join the discussion. We are open to all ideas regarding the building.
We will spend some time researching the possibilities, and we intend to schedule another community meeting – possibly in September – to share the results of that work and get more feedback. If you want to share ideas, send an email to DaveL@tacomaparks.com.
- And finally, we recommend that you mark two dates on your calendar:
Sept. 5, 2017: This is the annual back-to-school parade hosted by First Creek Middle School and the YMCA. They’re graciously giving us the opportunity to share a project update during their awesome community event.
Sept. 23, 2017: We are planning an #ImagineEastside construction celebration for that afternoon on the field behind First Creek Middle School. We are still working on the details, but it’s shaping up to be a really fun party! Stay tuned for more information.
A key assumption regarding the operating budget for the new center includes transferring operations from the Portland Avenue Community Center and Eastside Pool to the new center.
The new center’s projected cost of about $30 million is expected to be covered by the following sources:
- $10 million from the 2014 Metro Parks capital improvement bond
- $5 million from the City of Tacoma
- $6 million from federal tax credits that encourage such community investment
- $3 million from private philanthropy
- $3 million in state grants
- $3 million from other sources to be determined
Metro Parks is spending the summer of 2017 talking with neighbors and potential partner agencies to determine the future of Portland Avenue Community Center and Park.
As it did when building STAR Center in the South Tacoma neighborhood, Metro Parks intends to share the information it gathers with residents and have a community dialogue about needs and impacts before making decisions about the property. This process could illuminate solutions that meet the needs of the community while staying within the park district’s fiscal limits.Sign up for email updates.