Almost five years have come and gone without the sight of fishing poles and rollerbladers on Old Town Dock along Tacoma’s waterway.
That changed on May 15. Old Town Dock officially reopened, following more than $2 million in renovation work at the Metro Parks facility.
First built in 1873 as an anchor wharf for the city’s commercial fishing industry and then used as a waterfront attraction when trade operations moved to the Tideflats, the dock is a landmark of Schuster Parkway. But it had aged as the decades passed, prompting its closure in 2008 after an engineering study found it to be too weak for pedestrian traffic. The dock sat behind fences for years as a special task force pondered restoration and improvement options. Repair work started last summer with costs split between the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks bond dollars.
Contractors replaced the 140-year-old dock's rotting piles, pavilion and deck as well as added handrails, security features and short-term moorage floats. A new bathroom and lighting along the deck rounded out the roster of improvements.
Larger festivities surrounding Old Town Dock, to include a dedication and art unveiling, are being planned for Sunday, June 16.
Another project of Metro Parks is set to celebrate this week. The STAR Center in South Tacoma is marking its first birthday on May 18 with an all-day community celebration that will include a two-mile family “adventure race,” free class demos ranging from Kendo and Zumba to wheelchair basketball and belly dancing as well as games and drop-in sports. Oh yeah, and there will be a scavenger hunt complete with decoder rings.
The $16 million, 32,000-square-foot South Tacoma Activity and Recreation (STAR) facility has served more than 110,000 people since it opened on April 18, 2012.
“We’re excited to celebrate this first year in our new building with the community,” said STAR Center supervisor Dave Griffith. “People have really responded favorably to our programs and events and have put the facility to good use over the past year. We want to take this chance to thank them and to introduce more people to everything STAR Center and SERA Campus have to offer.”
STAR Center was built next to the Boys & Girls Club’s Topping Hope Center, Gray Middle School and Metro Parks’ SERA 75-acre athletic complex to leverage all those facilities offer to provide a destination location that draws from around the city.