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Retail, Restaurants, Access in Plans for Point Defiance
Conversations continue about the future of Point Defiance, and Metro Parks has some big plans. At Tuesday's City Council Study Session the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners shared work so far on "Destination Point Defiance," the ongoing, comprehesive planning and vision of an enhanced experience at Point Defiance Park.
- Retail has gotten some serious attention - particularly seasonal retail for peak park use season - but possibly even some options at other times
- Restaurants and other food and beverage service options are something the public has expressed interest in. The park could ultimately be home to up to half a dozen food/beverage options, ranging from a coffee shop to upscale dining.
- Lodging is being considered as a way of retaining customers over night and extending use of the park through all four seasons
- Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is going through an update to its master plan, which may include a second entrance to the zoo at the lower end, closer to the ferry
- SAMI will be constructed in a unique way with facilties throughout the park, using the entire park as the classroom
- Point Ruston and the Waterwalk will bring traffic in through a new corner, and provides partnership opportunities
- The former Camp 6 site provides an opportunity for future activities
- Ft Nisqually going through master plan process
- Tacoma Yacht Club is renegotiating its lease with Metro Parks
- Five Mile Drive will be closed to vehicle traffic during the week until 11 a.m. in a pilot effort to increase pedestrian access and reduce vehicle traffic in the park
- A new 20 foot wide pedestrian and bike path will replace the new interim trail, entering the park at a more gentle slope, and crossing vehicle traffic on an elevated footbridge. That $11 milion project is now fuly funded, and expected to start work some time next year, with completion forecast for 2016
- Salt water and fresh water estuaries and a boardwalk will replace the current bulkhead around the yacht club basin
- Peninsula Park on the old slag heap that wraps around the yacht club basin will be a 12 acre park with public gathering spaces
- Vehicle traffic flow and pedestrian and transportation connections will be improved with the messy intersections at the park entrance and the ferry boarding area getting cleaned up. Ferry traffic will be separated out at both locations and yacht club traffic will be rerouted.
- A circular plaza over a parking garage, surrounded by buildings will replace the surface parking and go-karts space
- Buildings mentioned reference historic park structures, including the colonnades and pavillion, and could be used for a variety of uses, including food and beverage space, retail, classes, event and meeting spaces, weddings, and more.
- An improved visitor center, seasonal retail, SAMI space, and a 100 to 150 room boutique hotel are all envisioned as part of the central plaza area.
With the opening of the new interim trail connecting Point Defiance Park to the Ruston Way waterfront, Metro Parks expects use of the park to increase. With that increase in use will come an increase in demand for parking and other amenities as listed above. Other than the improved pedestrian connector to Ruston Way, no timeline is set yet. As a Metro Parks representative pointed out Tuesday, all these amenities go forward, or be put on hold at any stage.
It's a big vision. Are you feeling inspired?
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