Tuesday, June 27, 2017 This Week's Paper

Public invited to give input on future of SERA

With the anchor STAR Center up and running in South Tacoma, Metro Parks officials are gathering ideas about what attractions and activities the rest of the 75-acre parks campus will have in the years to come. Changes there are in the works as at another community center elsewhere in Tacoma.

The South End Recreation and Adventure (SERA) campus is already home to Gray Middle School, the Boys & Girls Club's Topping Hope Center and Metro Parks’ destination sports complex known as South Tacoma Activity and Recreation (STAR) Center. But there is room for more.

The SERA Campus Master Plan update will be outlined at 6 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St. to show what a 2009 plan suggested for the site as well as to gain thoughts about what other sports or activities the area could offer even as features are being added, including an outdoor playground, outdoor event spaces and a spray ground.

“That master plan could change based on what information we get,” said project manager Kristi Evans. “There could be some updates. We certainly want to hear from people.”

Some suggestions already under discussion concern thoughts of keeping the park as natural as possible rather than developing the campus for sports fields, and having an indoor sports field for winter activities. Comments and suggestions from the meeting will be presented to the Metro Parks board in February, which will then select projects to submit for grant funding during the next two-year budgeting cycle.

“Generally, we don’t design things unless they are funded,” Evans said.

While the SERA site discussions work their way to planning boards, so too does talk about a community center on Tacoma’s Eastside.

The City of Tacoma, Metro Parks, Tacoma Housing Authority and Tacoma School District are developing a feasibility study for what could be a destination community hub in the underserved neighborhood. A community meeting was held in October that began formal discussions of the project that would provide community gathering and recreational spaces that have been absent since the Boys and Girls Club sold, the neighborhood library closed and a neighborhood elementary school and a middle school were mothballed.

“We need to create some gathering points that create community,” Deputy Mayor and Eastside Councilmember Marty Campbell said.

The draft feasibility study should be done by late November and provide a framework of what the community needs and how the partners could develop plans to offer programs.

“What we are doing now is defining the need,” Campbell said. “Once you have the feasibility, you can see what you need to start planning for.”