Where families once lived in Tacoma’s Eastside, a new place to play, picnic, and pooches opens Friday.
Metro Parks Tacoma unveils a section of Swan Creek Park that has been upgraded with new trails, restrooms, picnic shelters, a playground and a dog park.
People who live nearby told Metro Parks they want a safe place for children, a dog zone, and opportunities to host picnics and events in the 373-acre park. The people at the park have listened, they said, and the new amenities are the result.
The park, roughly between Waller Road West and East Roosevelt Avenue, is home to forests, trails, and other natural areas. Its namesake stream runs the length of the park.
The newly developed area covers a former development district of Salishan which housed workers and their families during WWII. Today the streets and sidewalks are still in place, but fir trees are growing where the houses once stood.
The area is upstream (south) of Lister Primary School. A new parking area adds 75 spaces near the entry point of East 44th and T streets.
Dog park and walkway
On Thursday night, crews were working to finish cutting trees inside a 4-acre fenced dog park. It is the largest in the Eastside of Tacoma.
Starting from the parking lot and next to the dog park is a “Pause-and-Play” area built on what was once one of the neighborhood streets. He uses logs for climbing, sturdy sticks to do whatever the kids do with big, woody limbs, and benches to sit on. The bench timbers, some approaching 3 square feet, are cut from single logs.
A new picnic shelter can accommodate 10 tables. Rentals will begin in 2022, Metro Parks said.
Nearby are bicycle racks and a tool station with a variety of tools for repairing bicycles. Yes, they are attached. There is also an air pump for leaky tires.
Metro Parks renovated five miles of trails as part of the project. These trails connect with mountain biking trails in the southern region of the park as well as the regional Pipeline Trail.
History is remembered in the park with signs that draw attention to the people who used the area: the Puyallup and other local tribes, loggers, apple growers, factory workers.
New toilets will open in early 2022.
Funding for the new equipment came from $ 4 million in voter-approved bonds, a grant inherited from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office of $ 720,323 and $ 17,500 from the Greater Metro Parks Foundation.