Residents and park users of the Chambers Creek Regional Park trails and open spaces have several opportunities to vote their thoughts about the future of the 930-acre Pierce County park along the western edge of University Place.
An online survey is now available and survey takers will be out in force during the Kite Festival on Aug. 28. Open house updates are in the works for later this summer or early fall.
The Pierce County Parks and Recreation Department and the Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Department will use those comments to shape the 2017 update to the park’s Master Site Plan, with much of the update discussion set to focus on the 54 acres on the southern edge of the former gravel mine and the mile-long trail system along Chambers Creek.
University Place, Lakewood and Pierce County are spending $75,000, for example, to develop a design for a trail system that would link the existing trail from Chambers Bay to the five-acre Kobayashi Park along the ravine. Other ideas being tossed around for the South Area include a concert stage to open space, to an off-leash dog park being championed by former UP Mayor Debbie Klosowski and a group of dog lovers known as the SunDogs. The park’s Central Meadow already has an off-leash area, but dog lovers would like a more defined recognized area on the southern peninsula.
“They have been advocating for a dog park down there for some time,” said UP’s Development Services Director David Swindale, noting that several other groups also have eyes on the peninsula. “There are a lot of people who have designs for that area.”
Options being tossed around also include a paintball area and picnic facilities. Development of the waterfront area along Chambers Bay could get complicated with accessing the site, since it has water on three sides, permitting for any construction along a shoreline, managing safety issues regarding the active railroad tracks nearby and coordinating with the Puyallup and Nisqually tribes, which have fishing grounds at the bay. While the county owns the property itself, it works with Lakewood and University Place to coordinate its master plan. Since the park lines University Place, all permits flow through that city’s Building Department.
The 930-acre regional park already offers two miles of saltwater shoreline, two and a half miles of urban creek canyon, walking trails, soccer fields, open lawns, and views of the Olympic Mountain Range and Puget Sound. Most of the space is used for the county’s wastewater treatment facility and Chambers Bay golf course, which hosted the U.S. Open last summer. The park’s first master plan was developed in 1997 and updated in 2007, when the course first opened. The tri-government agreement calls for a review of the plan at least every 10 years to reflect possible tweaks and changes in public expectations. A survey taken at an open house suggested that most of the park users want future park changes to add trails, nature walks, open space and water access.