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Metro Parks Today: March 2018

March 8, 2018


March’s headlines: Waterfront open house, roundabout and pickleball

Waterfront meeting March 15

About 200 people attended the “All Things Point Defiance Park” open house last month. The everything-but-the-kitchen sink format was so successful we’re going to do it again from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 15.

This time, the topic is “Metro Parks Waterfront Projects,” and the venue is Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock Street. We’re partnering with the Seaport on the location because it’s “Third Thursday” in Tacoma, which means you can get into the museum for free as early as 4 p.m. and check out the exhibits such as the new “First on the Waterways: The Puyallup People.“

We hope this meeting’s downtown location will be convenient and a refreshing change to the Metro Parks public meetings that so often take place in the headquarters building on South 19th Street. Let us know what you think. (Note: Limited free parking is available on Dock Street. There also is a pay lot north of the museum.)

The centerpiece of Metro Parks’ program will be a presentation about the Dickman Mill Park project. Last year, Cambia Health Solutions marked its centennial by pledging funds to restore the former mill’s head saw. On March 15, you’ll get to see draft schematic plans for displaying the saw and for expanding the park.

We’ll also have displays for other important projects:

  • Ruston Way waterfront (with the City of Tacoma)
  • Point Defiance Park Owen Beach improvements
  • Other Point Defiance Park waterfront upgrades, including the new Dune Peninsula
  • Titlow Park master plan update (coming later this year)
  • Foss Waterway Park and Central Park upgrade project (with the Foss Waterway Development Authority)

You can read more here. We also have a Facebook Event where you can let us know you’re going.

Point Defiance Park roundabout

Point Defiance Park remains open, but roundabout construction at the Pearl Street entrance is now in full swing. This means drivers entering the park may still use Pearl Street, but they’ll need to exit from Mildred Street or drive down to the boathouse and merge into ferry traffic exiting the park. (Ferry traffic is not affected in either direction.)

You can get tips and a map online. Pro tip: If you’re driving to a park attraction, use the Mildred Street entrance.

The project should wrap up by early summer. It’s funded by a Washington State Department of Transportation grant through the City of Tacoma and by the voter-approved 2014 Metro Parks Tacoma capital improvement bond, which is funding improvements throughout the park district.

When it’s done, traffic flow should be smoother into and out of the park. The communications office has received some questions over the past few months. Here are a few quick answers:

  • It’s a single-lane roundabout. (Some residents have expressed concern over multi-lane roundabouts.)
  • Pedestrian crossings will be striped.
  • The roundabout will not have striping for a separate bicycle lane, but bicycle lanes on Pearl Street will have transition ramps to the sidewalk as they approach the roundabout.


The other day, a person emailed the communications team to ask if Metro Parks has pickleball courts. As a matter of fact, we do:

  • Vassault Park and Jefferson Park. Lines and tennis nets are in place.
  • Optimist Park. Lines are in place. Bring your own net.
  • Center at Norpoint. Lines and nets are available. Check in with the customer service desk to ask about use.

The district’s recent Mission-Led Comprehensive Program Plan, by the way, called out pickleball as one of several non-traditional sports on the rise that need attention from the district. The plan was built with community input, and it gives direction to Metro Parks.

So that’s another reason to participate in the park district’s public engagement opportunities, like the one on March 15.

Read the rest of the newsletter >

Thompson profile
Michael Thompson is public information manager
of Metro Parks Tacoma.

Contact him at (253) 305-1092 or