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News and Notes: August 2018

August 9, 2018



Today we have some “before” and “after” photos, courtesy of the park district’s voter-approved $198 million capital improvement bond.

That’s the new parking lot at Browns Point Lighthouse Park. Metro Parks project manager Tom Dargan shared the photo in last week’s capital projects group meeting. The group – CPG for short – coordinates bond-funded improvements across the district.

When Tom showed CPG the new planters and the smooth walkways down to the water, there was an audible reaction in the room. I think that was because so many people there remembered what the site looked like only a few months ago and could see the marked contrast between the park then and now.

The project added a dozen paved parking stalls to replace what had been a steep gravel lot – and a lot more:

  • A new promenade built to Americans with Disabilities Act standards
  • A concrete path connecting the lot and promenade
  • Landscaping
  • Picnic tables
  • Benches
  • Trash receptacles
  • And an ornamental fence around the U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse, replacing the old chain link fencing.

All in all, the upgrades give visitors safe, all-season access down to the beach. Tom already has heard some compliments from people nearby.

Remember the $198 million capital improvement bond that voters approved back in 2014? That bond, and another bond from 2005, fueled the project.

Browns Point Lighthouse Park is only one of dozens of projects supported by the 2014 capital bond. They’re spread all over the district and range from Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park to Eastside Community Center to Swan Creek’s next round of upgrade. You can read more about them – and see a map that shows which projects are closest to you – online.


Brown grass? No worries

Were you here for the drought in 2015? If you were, you might remember that Metro Parks cut back on water usage in part by letting some of our parks’ lawns turn brown.

With low rainfall and hot weather (tip: check out Metro Parks’ pools and spraygrounds), water managers are being especially careful about water usage.

Which lawns go brown and which are kept green? Read our story online to find out.


Reminder: Portland Avenue Community Center meeting Aug. 16; Swan Creek Park meeting Aug. 30

Metro Parks is having a public meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 16 so people can hear about services proposed to be offered at Portland Avenue Community Center by the Korean Women’s Association in partnership with Tacoma Housing Authority.

Metro Parks announced last year that it would no longer manage the building after the new Eastside Community Center opens this fall.

The district is considering leasing the Portland Avenue Building to the association, which is a nonprofit social service agency. People who attend the Aug. 16 meeting will be able to learn more about the specific proposal and offer comments before the Park Board considers it.

Everyone interested in the center is encouraged to attend. Get details online. You also can check out the event listing on Facebook.

You’re also invited to come and comment on plans for the latest improvements to Swan Creek Park on Aug. 30 in a meeting that will be held practically next door at the Salishan Family Investment Center. Read more

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

Contact him at (253) 305-1092 or