News & Stories
In April there were 31 conversations in the Eastside of Tacoma, with 342 participants, touching on the critical needs for programs to serve the community. Called Community Cafés, they were self-organized conversations answering five questions, with groups ranging in size from 5 to 32. These conversations are essential to hearing the collective voice of the Eastside and will be used to refine the program elements and design of the Eastside community center and pool.
Metro Parks Tacoma has received letters of commitment toward construction of a new Eastside community center and pool from the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Schools, and Tacoma Housing Authority. The Boys and Girls Club and YMCA have submitted letters of intent to provide programming. Accordingly, the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners approved a contract with an architectural firm to begin program and building design for the center.
Using feedback from the Cafés and previous outreach efforts, Metro Parks and its partners will finalize the program priorities and community partnerships in the next few months. From there, design work will begin towards the goal of opening the center in 2017.
One goal of the Greater Metro Parks Foundation is to raise money for Metro Parks Tacoma programs. These donations help to enhance the quality and accessibility of these fun, healthy and educational programs so more children and families can enjoy these deeply valued opportunities.
Twice a year the Foundation presents the Metro Parks board of commissioners with a check representing our recent fundraising efforts. On January 26th, we were honored to present a check for $65,000.
We shared stories of our donors and of the participants who benefit from this support. This check represented donations from hundreds of supporters; their generosity enriches and sustains Metro Parks programs including Adaptive Recreation, Specialized Recreation, Youth Sports, Arts, Nature Education Programs and more.
Special thanks to the following who gave to support Metro Parks programs:
The employees of Metro Parks Tacoma through their Legacy Campaign, The Baker Foundation, The Bamford Foundation, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Comcast Foundation, The Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, REI, Tacoma Rainiers and Wells Fargo Foundation.
Thanks to you and many others, Metro Parks is able to host the annual Holiday Cruise for individuals with special needs. For many, the event is a highlight that they look forward to all year. The event includes fellowship, a boat ride, pizza and dancing at the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum.
This truly is a community effort with volunteers from Day Island Yacht Club, Tacoma Yacht Club, Totem Yacht Club, Charles N. Curtis Sea Scouts and many others. It is a wonderful event helping our community members with special needs.
The Curtis crew, with 40 volunteers on the docks and 60+ in the museum and behind the scenes, assisted 125 people with disabilities board and disembark with the simple goal of safety on the docks. There were 29 boats involved in providing a boat cruise around Commencement Bay.
Mother Nature was good to us this year. The sun came out, temperatures were mild, the rain held off, and the wind was light.
We appreciate the support from the yacht clubs, the volunteers and all the donors and supporters who make this event possible.
Every year, thousands of park stewards commit many hours to help keep our parks safe, healthy, and beautiful through CHIP In! Citizens Helping Improve Parks. In 2014, 4,600 volunteers came together and gave 48,000 hours of their time to help improve Tacoma parks.
Youth and people with disabilities gain training and conservation skills as they worked alongside environmental advocates, retirees, students, families, church and neighborhood groups, and corporate volunteers. Volunteers participated in community-wide events, with park steward group work parties, and they visited parks routinely to do restoration and maintenance such as litter pick up, trail repair, pruning, brush removal and other landscape care, or join the safety patrol program.
Green space restoration is a priority for CHIP In! and this year, volunteers stewarded 25 new acres under restoration for a total of 100 acres currently being restored and maintained.
Through CHIP In! support, two new trail wayfinding systems at Oak Tree Park and Swan Creek Park were established in 2014, adding an additional 10 miles of trails to the Metro Parks system. Volunteers also improved trail access at Puget Park, Oak Tree Park, and Swan Creek Park by installing box steps. Along with these new trails and improvements, CHIP In! volunteers also maintained 36.1 miles of existing trails.
Finally, CHIP In! volunteers participated as part of eight larger, regional and national events, and over 50 smaller events. The eight significant events included the Martin Luther King Jr Day of Caring, Parks Appreciation Day, Trails Day, United Way Day of Caring, Community Day of Service, Green Tacoma Day and two Faith in Action Days.
The thousands of CHIP In! volunteers are dedicated and passionate, and their efforts are possible thanks to support from donors like REI. On behalf of all the volunteers, thank you for this investment in both our volunteers and our environment.