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What does a $198 Million Bond for Parks Get You?
On Tuesday, April 22, Tacoma residents will vote on whether or not to fund $198 million of park and zoo improvements and safety upgrades.
The Metro Parks Board of Commissioners voted last week to send the bond measure to the citizens.
In recent years the board has worked to develop a comprehensive plan for Tacoma's more than 3,000 acres of parks.
That $198 million breaks down as follows:
$65.4 million for Point Defiance improvements
- Aquarium - Replacement of the failing 50+ year-old aquarium at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with a "with a modest new Paciﬁc Rim aquarium, including class space for students and the community to engage in environmental education."
- Polar Bears - Critical renovations to the aging polar bear exhibit, to bring it up to modern standards and improve visitor experience
- Rocky Shores - Critical renovations to the aging marine animal exhibit that houses walruses and others, to address health and safety conditions and improve visitor experience
$67.2 million for regional parks & attractions
- Point Defiance Park - Parking and pedestrian safety improvements; event plaza; garden and bowl improvements; viewpoint upgrades; replace aging play equipment with destination children’s playground; restroom upgrades; utilities and site upgrades; ADA accessibility; critical infrastructure improvements throughout the park.
- Swan Creek Park - Continued implementation of 2011 Master Plan, including trail and pathway expansion and enhancements; interpretive signage; picnic shelter and seasonal restroom; and parking improvements.
- Northwest Trek - Implement ﬁrst phase of Master Plan, including construction of Kids Trek hands-on, nature-themed play area for children; pedestrian bridge to the Hellyer Center and animal facility upgrades.
- Waterfront Parks & Facilities - structural upgrades, restoration, and refurbishment of boat lifts, gangways, accessibility and safety features, shoreline, habitat, and trail and pier improvements at Point Defiance Marina, Ruston Way parks, Dickman Mill Park, Titlow, Dash Point, and Thea Foss Waterway parks.
- Peninsula at Point Defiance - Phase 1 matching funds for the creation of 12 acres of new public waterfront park between Ruston Way and Point Defiance.
- Historical & Cultural Landmarks - development and first phase implementation of a new master plan for Fort Nisqually, including a period kitchen, volunteer and trade store area, and interpretive signage; structural restoration and preservation of the Point Defiance Lodge/Visitor Center and picnic shelters; and improvements in infrastructure, accessibility, and visitor experience at the Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park
$65.4 million for neighborhood parks, natural areas, & recreation facilities
- Community Parks - continued master plan implementation; new playgrounds; assorted improvements to water quality, trails, picnic areas, playfields, community gardens, skate park, pool, and parking areas; and accessibility and other infrastructure improvements at Wapato, Norpoint, Jefferson, Franklin, and Stewart Heights parks. A new sprayground and infrastructure improvements at Lincoln Park.
- Neighborhood Parks & Recreation Small Capital Improvement - utility and infrastructure renovations and replacements; safety and security upgrades to playgrounds, spraygrounds, pools, shelters, play courts, and other recreational amenities; improvements to provide expanded access to neighborhood and community parks, including Alderwood, Alling, Baltimore, Brown's Point, Charlotte's Blueberry Park, Cloverdale, Fern Hill, Ferry, Jane Clark, Lincoln Heights, Manitou, McKinley Playfield, McCarver, Neighbor's, North Slope Historic, Northeast Tacoma Playfield, Oakland-Madrona, Optimist, Peoples, Puget, Rogers, Sawyer Tot Lot, Sheridan, South, Stanley Playfield, STAR Center, and Vassault parks.
- Community Centers - Building and pool upgrades to support program delivery and accessibility at the Center at Norpoint and Peoples Center/Tacoma Nature Center. Partnership funds to help build a new community center to provide services to the Eastside.
- Sports Complexes & Athletic Fields - Partnership funds for improvements at the South End Recreation & Adventure Campus, including multi-use sports fields and field house, event pavilion, farmers' market amenities, and a new Outdoor Adventure Challenge Course. Improvements to the Heidelberg Davis Athletic Complex and Peck Field, and coordination and participation with the Tacoma School District for the renovation and creation of athletic fields for interscholastic and recreational sports activities. Critical infrastructure improvements to course irrigation and cart paths, and partnership to develop a regional golf learning center at Meadow Park Golf Course.
- Open Space, Trails, & Natural Areas - Improvements to Parks District open spaces and natural areas through environmental cleanup and native habitat restoration, and nature education opportunities, including Ryan's Park, China Lake Natural Area, McKinley Park, Oak Tree Park, and Puget Creek Natural Area. Developing, improving, and expanding trails and other infrastructure at Garfield Park Natural Area, and Wapato Hills Park Natural Area. Matching funds toward development of pedestrian and bicycle trail systems through projects including Prairie Line Trail, Schuster Parkway Promenade, and Pipeline Trail.
- Land Acquisition- Partnership and matching grant funds as needed for providing infill of existing park areas and new acquisitions to meet identified gaps in adequate level of services to the community.
- System Efficiencies - Technology upgrades to improve the delivery of services to the public. Updates to maintenance facilities. Retirement of existing debt.
Download a pdf with more details on these projects here and a map of highlighted capital bond projects here. Read the full Metro Parks press release on the upcoming Parks Bond vote here.
$198 million is a lot of money, but it also sounds like it would fund a lot of improvements to our parks system. What do you think; would it be money well-spent?
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