Tacoma Awakens: Big Changes to Ruston Point

Norris Comer Community Nautical News

A major makeover of the Tacoma waterfront is in process, with big changes coming to Peninsula Park

Peninsula ParkTimes are changing for the better in Tacoma, Washington (see our Ports of Call, page 88), and the west end of Point Ruston peninsula is currently ground zero. Tacoma Metro Park and the EPA are spending $60 million to transform the former slag pile into an interconnected public gathering and green space dubbed Peninsula Park. This development is especially beneficial to the Tacoma Yacht Club (TYC), which resides at the tip of the peninsula across the water from the Washington State Ferry Terminal.

“It has been a long time coming for the Tacoma waterfront to get a complete makeover,” says Marsha Baker, the Membership Chair of the TYC. “There have been condos built, new restaurants, a movie theater, and now our basin. It’s amazing!”

The ambitious development involves creating a grassy Peninsula Park on Point Ruston, complete with amphitheater for concerts and the like. A 60-foot high pedestrian bridge will also connect the park with the attractions of Point Defiance to the north-northwest, like the zoo and aquarium. The development will also connect the walking and biking trail to a current waterfront trail system that goes along the Thea Foss Waterway and ends at the Tacoma Dome. The ultimate goal appears to make Tacoma a contender as a prime destination for boaters, ferry goers, and the general public. Construction is reportedly roughly on schedule, and elements of the project should be ready for use sometime this summer or fall.

TYC itself has answered the call with its own set of major improvements. One of the oldest membership clubs in the area, TYC was founded in 1889. The current clubhouse at Point Ruston was funded and built in 1971 by its members, along with full marina facilities to house over 300 boats from small dinghies to 100-foot plus yachts. A new boat launch pier being constructed as part of the Peninsula Park project will be equipped with a lift provided by TYC that has a haul-out capacity of 10,000 pounds. All parking and driving surfaces will be elevated from seven to 11 feet above the existing elevation to enhance the entrance to the soon-to-be renovated clubhouse.

Keep an eye on Tacoma, for the city and especially its waterfront is making moves. If you are interested in learning more about the Tacoma Yacht Club, an upcoming Open House on March 26, 2017 from 1400 to 1600 hours is something you won’t want to miss.

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Norris Comer

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Norris Comer is an award-winning writer and the former Managing Editor of Northwest Yachting magazine. He was raised in Portland, Oregon and got his BS in Marine Science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL where he lived aboard a 1973 Catalina 27 before moving to Washington and an Albin Vega. He has worked as a commercial fisherman, wandered aimlessly around the world, studied oil spills, and was a contestant on the Norwegian reality TV show "Alt for Norge."

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