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Upgrade of Northeast Tacoma fishing pier is underway. Metro Parks wants your input

After a month of collecting public feedback, Metro Parks Tacoma will move to the second phase of renovation plans for Dash Point Pier and the adjacent park in Northeast Tacoma. A 2021 engineering assessment estimated the project would cost around $2.6 million.

The park district will host its second community meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 6-7:30 p.m. at McCormick Hall at the Center at Norpoint. In March and April, residents were invited to comment on the initial design plans, both at an in-person event and through an online survey.

Vancouver-based MacKay Sposito has been tapped for the refresh. Locally, the engineering and development firm has also led the Tehaleh project in Bonney Lake.

The proposed designs, created with Seattle engineering company Moffat & Nichol, involve entirely replacing the pier structure and “an overall makeover” of amenities.

DASH POINT RENOVATION

This city-run park — not to be confused with Dash Point State Park and Dash Point Beach a half-mile north on Route 509 — was established in 1917 as a destination for deep-water fishing access that doesn’t require a boat. The pier, which extends 384 feet into the water and from there another 100 feet parallel to the waterfront — was last renovated in 1995.

Dash Point Pier is a popular fishing destination in Northeast Tacoma. Other piers managed by Metro Parks Tacoma include Les Davis on Ruston Way and Point Defiance Marina.
Dash Point Pier is a popular fishing destination in Northeast Tacoma. Other piers managed by Metro Parks Tacoma include Les Davis on Ruston Way and Point Defiance Marina.

Decades of a “harsh marine environment and the wear and tear of daily use,” according to Metro Parks’ website, led the agency to close the pier in July 2021. A $26,000 condition assessment the following month determined that the Dash Point Pier itself was in critical condition.

While the piles were found to be in decent shape, the concrete tee and channel beams showed “major to sever deterioration that includes concrete section loss, heavy cracking, rust staining and broken pre-stressing strands,” Reid Middelton, another engineering firm, wrote in its report.

The firm recommended partial or complete replacement of, at a minimum, the support beams and the pier’s finished floor. It also advised that the “deteriorated” navigational lighting system, connected by PVC conduits, be upgraded to solar-powered lights at each corner.

Boats were instructed to steer clear of the pier. The beach has remained open to public use, but visitors have been cautioned to avoid the “unsafe” structure.

Those looking to fish in the meantime have been directed to Les Davis Pier on Ruston Way and Point Defiance Marina.

In 1996, Metro Parks expanded the parking lot and added restrooms, which were updated in 2006. A historic water fountain was also restored in 2010.

Four years later, engineers said the pier had another 20 to 30 years.

After the second public meeting May 23, Metro Parks will offer another online survey before selecting a final concept design. A third and final public meeting should occur later this year, with permitting expected by late 2024.

More information on the May 23 meeting at Norpoint can be found here: metroparkstacoma.org/event/public-meeting-dash-point.