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Ideas for use of Ft. Steilacoom Park barns voiced at meeting

A small, but highly interested group, turned out Wednesday to hear a presentation on the future of the Ft. Steilacoom Park barns. Hosted by Lakewood’s Parks and Recreation Department, the session was aimed at explaining the physical status of the structures and get community ideas for what uses they might be put in the future.

Stewart Thompson, an engineer with the Portland firm SERA, explained that each of the three barns under consideration had been checked and all were in “good” shape. Extensive restoration and upgrading would be required of each before it could be made usable for anything except storage.

The engineer said the feasibility study is in its early stages. No tests have been conducted to check out the physical integrity of any of the buildings but the preliminary work indicates the foundations are good, roofs were replaced a couple years ago eliminating further rain and weather deterioration from leakage and only relatively minor exterior improvements would be needed.

Because the barns are included in a historical designation, there are limits to what renovations and improvements can be made, he explained. However, the interiors usually can be remodeled within the historical designation.

Suggested uses for the buildings ranged from a farmers market to an ice skating arena to an indoor playground. The largest of the trio could become a multi-purpose facility for gatherings like weddings, soccer and baseball banquets and more.

The firm doing the feasibility study now plans to do more extensive work determining which of the three barns to recommend for renovation. The Parks Department plans to hold a joint meeting with other city departments to further planning, according to Mary Dodsworth, director of the department.

No timeline for further efforts on the barns has been established. Additional ideas for possible uses of the barns is encouraged and can be e-mailed to the department at parks@cityoflakewood.us or contact Suzi Riley in the city’s Parks department at 253-589-2489.

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