Monday, June 26, 2017 This Week's Paper

Expect to see fishing poles return to Old Town Dock following renovations

Old Town Dock has been closed for years, but it will see new life along Tacoma’s waterfront with renovations in the works to start this summer.

First built in 1873 in what was then the heart of Tacoma’s shipping operations, the dock then became a place for waterfront walks and fishing after trade operations moved to the Tideflats. The boardwalk dock closed, however, in 2008 after an engineering study found it was too weak for pedestrians. It has sat behind fences ever since.

Plans to restore the dock at 2123 Schuster Parkway have been underway ever since. And now those plans are ready to go from city reports to the water with a $2 million restoration set to begin in August. The work will replace the pier's rotting piles, pavilion and aging deck, while adding handrails, security features and short-term moorage floats under an agreement between City of Tacoma and Metro Parks Tacoma. Both agencies are splitting the renovation cost with Tacoma funding the work through general operation bonds and Metro Parks using bond dollars passed by voters in 2005. The construction of a $350,000 bathroom facility at the site will dovetail into the dock restoration project as well. The details of the dock operations deal are being worked out as part of a larger package meant to address the operation and upkeep of many other city properties that are used as parks facilities.

“We are in the early stages of that process,” said Tacoma’s Public Works Division Manager Jeff Jenkins.

The deal, however, will follow the recommendations of a working group that was tasked studying the future of the Old Town Dock after it closed. An 11-page roster of findings and recommendations are now in the works.

“It was very clear that it was very important that the dock be a working dock,” Jenkins said.

That means slips for temporary boat moorage, fishing spots and being a walkable asset to Tacoma’s waterfront.

“It really is a gateway to Ruston Way,” said Metro Parks Project Manager Doug Fraser.

The current timeline estimates the dock will reopen in mid 2013.