Highlights from 2019, a great way to begin a new decade

Highlights from 2019, a great way to begin a new decade

A message from Park Board President Aaron Pointer

As I wrap up my year as president of the Board of Park Commissioners, I look back at an extraordinary list of accomplishments by the incredible staff, volunteers and partners of Metro Parks Tacoma.

We completed some major construction projects. We provided welcome opportunities to play – remember the Snowmageddon in February? – and to learn and grow. And our staff continues to find innovative ways to serve the community.

Here is a report of accomplishments in 2019.

These are a few of the highlights:

On the construction side, we added a community garden and playground at Charlotte’s Blueberry Park, opened an immersive bald eagle exhibit at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, built a state-of-the-art driving range at Meadow Park Golf Course, and added restrooms to the historic W.W. Seymour Conservatory.

And of course, the project that got the most attention was the opening of Dune Peninsula and the Wilson Way bridge, completing the transformation from a contaminated Superfund site to a scenic “super fun” site. Everywhere I go people stop to tell me how they love the new waterfront park.

Now let’s talk about programs and services.

Our Equity Team went through intensive training and is learning to apply diversity, equity and inclusion lenses to all that we do. We hosted an “Under the Sea”-themed event at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for kids with disabilities and their families. The zoo and Northwest Trek both earned KultureCity’s designation as sensory-inclusive sites, meaning they are equipped to help individuals experience community amenities without sensory overload.

Other highlights: the Tacoma Nature Center celebrated its 40th anniversary, we launched a new website to better showcase our diverse offerings, we established Youth Councils at each of our community centers, we welcomed lots of baby animals at both zoos, and we created an after-school program for middle school students.

Park Board Aaron PointerWe also received some tremendous recognition in our industry. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum earned accreditation from the American Alliance for Museums. And then Metro Parks as a whole earned re-accreditation, meaning we meet the highest standards of excellence in the industry.

And that was topped only by earning the National Gold Medal Award from the National Recreation and Parks Association. We have always measured ourselves against the best parks and recreation systems in the nation, and now they are being measured against us. That’s a big honor!

We could not do all of this without the energy, enthusiasm, and expertise of our staff, volunteers, and partners. For that, I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.

And as for February’s Snowmageddon, our staff did an amazing job of responding to that epic snowstorm. Do you think they’ll have to do that again this winter?

Aaron Pointer has served on the Board of Park Commissioners since 2001.

Photo Galleries

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Baby Animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

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Charlotte's Blueberry Park Playground & Community Garden

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Under the Sea at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

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Eagle Passage at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

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Zoo and Northwest Trek earn designation as sensory-inclusive sites

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Tacoma Nature Center's 40th Anniversary

Posted In: Park Board, Places, Programs