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Irving Park History

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Irving Park is named for and located on the site of Irving School* which was established in 1890.

By 1935 the school had reached such a state of disrepair that it was razed by the school district and the site lay vacant until 1946. That year several individuals who lived near the site lobbied to have the School District sell the property to Metro Parks Tacoma for use as a park. On October 4, 1946 a perpetual easement for the consideration of $1.00 was agreed upon by the School and Park Boards transferring the site to the Park District.

In the early years of the park, there was an active group called the Irving Playground Association who worked to raise money for improvements to the park. Visitation records indicate that 7,085 children attended the summer playground program at Irving Park in 1949. Three years later a special tax levy provided for the addition of a sprinkler system, top soil, grass seed, a small shelter, and a backstop and softball diamond. In 1954 the Irving Playground Association donated money for a volleyball court. Then in 1967 a wading pool and restroom building were constructed.

In 1966 planning for the construction of the Sprague exchange for Highway 16 and Interstate Highway 5 called for a reduction in size of the park. The Park District worked with the highway department to preserve the park and make sure that it would still be accessible to the neighborhood following construction.

Throughout the 1970s Metro Parks continued to purchase small parcels of land to increase the size of the park. In a 1979 report to the Park Board from Director Glunberg states that the park is now “3.9 acres and contains a wading pool, recreation building with restrooms, play equipment, small court games area and softball field.”

The most recent set of changes at the park occurred in 2012/2013 when the wading pool and restrooms were removed, the fencing was replaced, the basketball court was repaved and enlarged, a new irrigation system was installed, and new picnic tables installed at the park.

*Irving School was named to honor American author Washington Irving.