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Eastside Community Center: #ImagineEastside
Eastside leaders, Metro Parks, and the Boys and Girls Club are asking the public to join them in envisioning a new community center for the currently underserved part of Tacoma.
Imagine a place where youth and families can safely gather to play, learn and grow. #ImagineEastside
The vision is for a project that creates a space for multiple needed services and amenities under one roof, a space that creates a sense of community for residents, especially young people, on Tacoma's Eastside.
The idea for this project has been percolating for a while now, and now it's beginning to gather steam. A public-private partnership of is working on plans for a new Eastside community center on the campus of First Creek Middle School (near East 56th and Portland Avenue), and close to Swan Creek Park. The 55,000-square-foot center would be home to facilities including a swimming pool, a gym, a playground, and a kitchen; hosting activities like after-school progams, cooking classes, nature hikes, and more.
It would be a safe place for kids and adults to grow, learn, improve their fitness, gain skills, find services, and build community. The project partners - Metro Parks, the Boys and Girls Club, Tacoma Schools, Tacoma Housing Authority, the City of Tacoma, and community leaders - are collaborating on program plans, building designs, cost estimates, operating models and more.
Those plans are still being developed, and input from the public is still being taken. Many ideas are being discussed:
- A leisure-oriented swimming pool featuring amenities such as water slides and lap lanes.
- A climbing wall.
- A music recording studio.
- A teaching kitchen.
- A 300-person social hall.
- A gymnasium with a full-size basketball and volleyball courts.
- A fitness center with free-weights and cardio equipment.
- A café-style lobby with publicly accessible computers and Wi-Fi.
- Medical services.
- Ways to address the problem of the Eastside food desert.
- A small businesses incubator.
- Services to all youth in the area, including more than double the number currently served by Boys & Girls Clubs' youth development programming.
- Aquatic programs, including exercise swimming as well as a leisure pool with shallow depth and warm water amenities.
- Adaptive recreational facilities for those with physical disabilities.
- Creative space for music, theater, dance, and visual arts.
- Nature walks, environmental education and mountain biking by taking advantage of the connection to Swan Creek Park.
- Adults and senior programming, trips and events.
- Event rental space for weddings, parties, corporate and community events.
- Library services in collaboration with First Creek Middle School.
To move plans along, and to gather input from the public, a community open house is planned for May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Salishan Family Investment Center. Attendees will get a chance to see the latest schematic designs for the Eastside community center, and to ask questions and make comments.
A video posted to YouTube featues community residents and leaders talking about the need for the center, and their hopes that it will be life-changing for the youth and adults of the Tacoma's Eastside. Dave Lewis of Metro Parks sums up the hopes in the video:
"This isn't your standard recreation center, this is a true community center"
Setting aside the the somber tone of the video - this is exciting for the Eastside. What are you excited to see included?
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