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On Oct. 20, celebrate Eastside and its new community center

September 26, 2018

We imagined it. Now let’s celebrate it!

What better way to mark the opening of the landmark, 55,000-square-foot Eastside Community Center than to throw a giant party?

Metro Parks and its partners are calling the event Celebrate Eastside. The date: Saturday, Oct. 20. The location: Eastside Community Center, 1721 E. 56th St (on the First Creek Middle School campus). The activities: music, dance, samples of local culinary delights, a giant birthday cake, fitness demonstrations, free swimming, building tours, hands-on art experiences, recording studio demos, and a lot more.

The guest list: Everyone who lives in Eastside Tacoma, everyone who wanted the new center to be built, everyone who might use the center’s state-of-the art swimming pool (with a climbing wall, Aqua Zip' N and slide!), or recording studio, or ample fitness areas, or the Boys & Girls Clubs activity rooms ... make that EVERYONE.

“After years of dreaming, the day is finally here,” said Andrea Smith, president of the Board of Park Commissioners. “The board is excited to celebrate with the entire community.”

The day begins with the Eastside Families Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. in the Salishan neighborhood. The half-hour parade is usually called the First Creek Back to School Parade, but for this year only it moves to coincide with Celebrate Eastside, ending at the community center’s front doors.

Celebrate Eastside formally begins with a 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting by Eastside residents, followed by an opening ceremony featuring music and keynote speaker Victoria Woodards, mayor of the City of Tacoma. Immediately following the ceremony, the center will come alive with hands-on, free activities. Highlights include the dedication of a time capsule and a host of performers including:

  • Obe Quarless, a steel pan virtuoso whose specialties are soca, calypso and reggae
  • Pachanga Alert!, presenting blend of music from Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia
  • Ballet Folklorico de First Creek Middle School presenting regional dances of Mexico
  • Vision Step Team, performing traditional step dance arrangements
  • The League, from the Iconic Arts Complex, doing hip hop
  • The Movement, showcasing young rappers and singers
  • Hearts for Kids, performing traditional and modern dancing from the Pacific Islands

Once the activities wrap up around 2 p.m., the center will be open for guests to stay and play free of charge for the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday. And at 6 p.m. Saturday, Eastside Community Center staff will present a free indoor movie and open up the gym for basketball.

The event is supported by Graduate Tacoma, Comcast Essentials, Regence and Heritage Bank.

If you go

  • What: Celebrate Eastside: the opening of Eastside Community Center
  • Where: Eastside Community Center, 1721 E. 56th St., on the campus of First Creek Middle School
  • When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20
  • Cost: Free
  • Website: Eastside Community Center
  • Facebook: Celebrate Eastside


Please note! Because space is limited, Metro Parks will ask people to sign up in advance to use the recording studio and swimming pool. Signup links will be posted to the Eastside Community Center page when available.

The $31 million, 55,000-square-foot Eastside Community Center opens this fall at 1721 E. 56th St. The center’s amenities include a multi-use gymnasium, sound recording studio, social hall, culinary kitchen, weight room and cardio-fitness areas, and a large pool with party rooms, lap lanes, diving board, climbing wall, water slide and hot tub/spa. The building is expected to attract as many as 350,000 users annually, including 200 youngsters each weekday through programs of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

What makes this project possible is partnership between Metro Parks Tacoma, the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Schools, Tacoma Housing Authority, the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, the Greater Metro Parks Foundation and the Billy Ray Shirley III Foundation.

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Michael Thompson, Metro Parks Tacoma, (253) 305-1092;