Metro Parks Tacoma

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Project Updates

Capital Projects Update – November 2017

Partnership Initiatives

  • Eastside Community Center
    Metro Parks is working with Tacoma Public Schools, the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Housing Authority, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, and the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties to develop a new facility to meet the needs of the Eastside community. We’ll have more updates in the months ahead.
    Status:Steel arrived in early November, and was placed in the area of the social hall and teaching kitchen throughout the first half of the month. The final foundations and stem walls are being poured throughout the month as well.
  • Prairie Line Trail
    Metro Parks is coordinating with the City of Tacoma for an extension of the urban trail that follows the former Prairie Line Rail corridor from South 23rd Street through the UW Tacoma campus and extending to Dock Street along the Thea Foss Waterway. This phase will complete the trail from Pacific Avenue to Dock Street.
    Status: The City is in the right-of-way phase of finalizing easements and is scheduled to bid in early 2017.

Point Defiance Park Projects
(see for more information about Waterfront Phase I and the Master Plan Update)

  • Point Defiance Park - Waterfront Phase 1
    Complete the public pathway from Point Ruston to Point Defiance Park with a new trail and bridge over Pearl Street. Provide a new location for boat and trailer parking to support the existing boat launch. Finish the remediation work at the Point Defiance peninsula and establish a new park on the peninsula land.
    Status: Grading is largely complete. The shoreline and parking lot closest to Point Ruston will be completed this fall. Following that work, the soil nail wall will be installed just above the Yacht Club parking Lot A (below the MPT maintenance building), which will allow for final trail grading. The hardscape installation will be ongoing through the winter and into the spring of 2018. The three peninsula buildings will begin construction in November (2017) and be completed by spring of 2018. Bridge installation is nearly complete, except for the rail installation. The final pieces of the rail (mesh infill) will be installed beginning December 1.Landscape installation to be completed in spring 2018.
  • Point Defiance Park -– Roundabouts
    Design and build roundabouts at the entrance to Point Defiance Park, while updating the intersection at 51st & Pearl and providing a bike lane from 51st to 54th.
    Status: We had originally anticipated construction of the roundabout to begin in late summer of 2017, with a pause during Zoolights and final work finished in spring. Unexpected construction delays will push the start of construction to January 2018, right after Zoolights. Completion is still anticipated for spring 2018 ahead of the Pacific Seas Aquarium grand opening.
  • Parking and Circulation Study
    This is a full comprehensive study for the vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic circulation and additional parking at Point Defiance Park. After study is completed, will be presented with alternatives for additional parking and improved circulation.
    Status: The consultant is finalizing design drawings and reports. Public Meeting #4 is being scheduled.
  • Japanese Garden Design
    In cooperation with Tacoma’s sister city Kitakyushu, this project will reconstruct the Japanese garden in front of the Pagoda in the traditional style. This phase will complete the design as we work with Japanese Garden Designers from Japan.
    Status: On hold pending final recommendations of Shared Use Trail system under Point Defiance Parking and Circulation Study as this influences final design of the Japanese Garden Expansion design.
  • Green House Relocation
    Relocated greenhouse production operations to the Tacoma Landfill.
    Status: Final closeout and acceptance is underway, anticipated to be completed in November 2017.
  • Boat Lift Improvements
    Improvements will be made to the grates, guide beams, lift enclosures, switches and other improvements as a result of the inspection/design process.
    Status: After review of bids, anticipated award of base bid and alternates made to contractor.
  • Point Defiance Owen Beach Improvements
    Site improvements at Owen Beach that include new restroom building, renovation and addition of new shelter, new playground, kayak launch and beach accessibility, parking, landscaping and walkway improvements.
    Status: New schematics presented and a public meeting is possibly being targeted for January 2018.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
(also see the zoo’s capital projects page for more information)

  • New Aquarium
    Design and construction of a new aquarium to replace the aging North Pacific Aquarium.
    Status: Construction is 65% complete. 
  • PDZA Rocky Shores Underwater Viewing Window Improvements
    Remove eight existing windows and replace in-kind for puffin, otter, walrus and sea lion exhibit area.  Included are new frames, bolts and sealants.
    Status: All work on this project is complete. Project will be closed out once contractual paperwork requirements are met by the contractor.
  • Aquatic Animal Care Center
    The Aquatic Animal Care Center will serve as a quarantine space, nursery and breeding facility for animals that will live in the new aquarium. Key physical elements are: concrete slab approximately 3500 square feet, steel structure to be purchased and installed on the slab, utility upgrades for power, water and sewer.
    Status: The Life Support System (LSS) equipment is being installing by PDZA operations staff.  Final completion is LSS assembled and tested to be "fish ready."
  • Picnic Shelter
    Construct a picnic shelter to be placed in the location where Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium currently sets up tents for this purpose every summer. This is to be a permanent structure.
    Status: Permit corrections required by City of Tacoma are complete and permit being resubmitted.  After approval final bid documents will be prepared and project will be put out to bid.
  • Polar Bear Exhibit
    This exhibit opened in 1982 as part of the Rocky Shores/ Arctic Tundra Exhibit. It won the AZA Exhibit of the Year Award in 1983. This project is a significant upgrade and renovation to this historic exhibit.
    Status: Scope of work is being refined for consultant selected for the project’s predesign work.

Other Highlights from Neighborhood Council Areas

New Tacoma

  • W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory Restoration and Expansion
    Renovation and expansion of the conservatory. Steering committee formed and schematic design is underway.
    Status: Moving forward with design, the next steering committee meeting is Dec. 13.
  • W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory Restroom
    Design Development through construction of a restroom connecting to the existing conservatory.
    Status: The building foundation and stem wall have been formed.  Some steel work will start in the next two weeks as well as the demo of the glass wall of the conservatory for the gasket.
  • Foss Waterway Parks
    In collaboration with the Foss Waterway Development Authority this project includes the design for two park sites along the Foss Waterway including a new boathouse facility for kayaks and shells.
    Status: Proceeding into Design Development drawings and public input for Waterway and Central Parks. FWDA prepping to move the project forward into a fund raising phase in cooperation with MPT.   A facility business/program plan is being considered for the human-powered watercraft facilities as well.  Cost for a design development phase has been submitted by SiteWorkshop and currently is under review.
  • Neighbors Park
    Play court resurfacing and ADA access.
    Status:  Will be completed under Phase 2 of the Districtwide Court Improvement project in 2018.

North Tacoma

  • Dickman Mill Park Expansion & Head Saw
    An extension of the existing Dickman Mill Park. This is to restore and publicly display the historic Head Saw and provide plaza space with expanded decking for viewing.
    Status: A&E consultant and the survey consultant have begun work. We should have environmental cleanup/permitting draft recommendations in the next month.

South Tacoma

  • Meadow Park Facility Improvements
    Identification and implementation of improvements, including irrigation control and upgrades to the restrooms, restaurant and pro shop.
    Status: Driving range bids have been received, and the apparent low bidder is being reviewed. Contracting is anticipated to be complete in November 2017. The remaining work of the structural reinforcing, and ADA restroom upgrades is in for city permit review.
  • Oak Tree Site Upgrades & Art Project
    Implementation of Development Plan to include new parking lot and seasonal restroom shelter, tool storage shed, trail and path upgrades, site furniture, tree removals, prairie expansions and native plantings to support Oak habitat,  new nature playground, park ID and wayfinding/ interpretive signage. After the city completed the Prairie Line Trail, Metro Parks Tacoma will provide restoration to two adjacent areas to the trail (pump house parking lot, gravel pit and partnering with the COT with an art project).
    Status: Phase 1 of the project will include the Meadow Area. Currently permitting the Meadow Area work with Tacoma Water and City of Tacoma. Bidding for Phase 1 to occur in mid-September 2017. Phase 2 will include the parking area in 2018 after further coordination with Tacoma Water.
  • South Park
    Play court resurfacing and ADA access.
    Status: Will be completed under Phase 2 of the Districtwide Court Improvement project in 2018.

South End

  • Wapato Park – Dock Replacement
    This will replace the two wooden dock structures for improved access and paddleboat/ kayak launching and events.
    Status: All but 16 piles have been driven.  Some of the south dock structure should be delivered in late November.  The concrete walks are being poured.
  • Charlotte’s Blueberry Park Garden/Playground
    Design of community garden/park amenities. Continuation of public process to address possible addition of playfield, trails, and/or wetland enhancement.
    Status: Permits comments have been received from the City of Tacoma. Per City Land Use a new wetland edge delineation is required. Also, new grant opportunities will be worked into the project. With these new endeavors the construction will be setback to the first of 2018.
  • Verlo Playfield
    Basketball court resurfacing and ADA access. ADA access to tennis court, consider alternative use for tennis court area.
    Status: Will be completed under Phase 2 of the Districtwide Court Improvement project in 2018.
  • Stewart Heights Park
    Court improvements.
    Status: Will be done under Phase 1 of the Districtwide Courts project. Bruce Dees under contract - Design to occur in Oct/Nov 2017. Topographic Survey completed.
  • Swan Creek Phase II - Master Plan Update and Construction
    Update masterplan and pursue conditional use permit
    Status: Consultant chosen is Mithun. Negotiating contract and then present to the Board in November.

North East

  • Browns Point Lighthouse
    Accessible pathways and promenade, additional parking, new furnishings.
    Status: Construction moved to March 2018. Permit drawings and reports for Site Development have been "Accepted". Expected final Site Development Permit in mid-October 2017.
  • Browns Point Playfield
    Basketball and tennis court reconstruction due to large cracks, improve ADA parking and access route to basketball courts.  Make necessary improvements to play equipment.
    Status: Will be done under Phase 1 of the Districtwide Courts project. Bruce Dees under contract - Design to occur in Oct/Nov 2017. Topographic Survey completed.


  • Tacoma Nature Center Building and ADA Improvements
    The scope of work includes ADA upgrades and improvements to the entry ramp, and entry door; relocation of a utility pole at Discovery Pond; replacement of exterior wooden stair treads; and utility routing to Coyote Flats. There will also be minor site and signage upgrades on the TNC property and a Facility Assessment to the main building. Dependent upon the result of the facility assessment, the scope of work may shift to address needs at the main building.
    Status: After the initial A & E contract, and then the building assessment, now going out for A& E bidding. Selected consultant will use past documents and assessments to develop construction and permit documents to improve and upgrade a failing exterior envelope (roof, windows, siding, doors, and exterior landings) of the main building. Once this work is designed and approved by the city, we will bid the work to tentatively be performed in the summer of 2018.

West End

  • Titlow Lagoon Design and Phase 1
    Provide matching funds for lagoon restoration in accordance with partnering agencies.
    Status: Pending. Communications are underway with South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group in the context of the Master Plan Update for Titlow Park. Geotechnical Investigation to occur in December 2017, BNSF permit pending.
  • Titlow/Hidden Beach Improvements
    Hidden Beach and natural area trail/path/beach access upgrades. Landscaping enhancements, natural area restoration, demolition of shelter and old restroom at Hidden Beach. Utility modifications at former TOA facility. Remove or perform bridge retrofits to TOA Railroad bridge.
    Status: The topographic survey is complete for the TOA Survey and Demolition project. Title Report work will be finalized in early November. Consultants are being reviewed for the Titlow Park Master Plan Update.

Completed Projects:

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