Tacoma, WA: The recommended plan for Peck sports park balances the needs of the neighborhood and sports community while greatly expanding access to the park.
Incorporating input from more than 1,400 community members who engaged through two public workshops and an interactive website, Metro Parks Tacoma and design firm Walker/Macy presented the final concept Wednesday to those who attended an Open House at People’s Community Center.
The proposal is expected to go before the Park Board for a vote later this month. If it is approved, the work would be done in phases based upon available funding.
The master plan for the 9-acre park in Central Tacoma opens the space for more people more often, a priority highlighted by neighbors and a recommended shift in park design and operation championed in a recent State of Play report by the Aspen Institute.
For decades, Peck Athletic Complex has been fully fenced and inaccessible to the community for more than half the year to protect the natural turf. Under the new concept, there will no longer be perimeter fencing around the entire park and both sports fields would be programmed for community use when organized games or practices are not scheduled.
The park design also includes ample green space and amenities, offering places to gather with loved ones and promoting physical activity and free play for children.
“This vision for Peck helps the park reach its full potential and offers a welcoming, inclusive environment for neighbors and a variety of active play and sports options,” said Park Board President Andrea Smith.
An all-season, multisport field that will serve as home field for Stadium High School’s baseball team jumpstarted the planning process at Peck. The Park Board asked staff in March to assess placing the field there based on community input citing Peck as a preferred option over Stanley Playfield. That field, slated for the southeast corner of the park, will be developed in partnership with Tacoma Public Schools. In addition to baseball, the field will also support soccer and lacrosse.
A second field to the west can be used for soccer, kickball, softball, or baseball.
The two fields will offer year-round availability for both community and sports teams and help diversify sports offerings.
Supporting a variety of physical activities and improving accessibility and connectivity are staples to encouraging better overall health in youth, according to the Aspen Institute’s report on physical activity among youth in Tacoma and Pierce County.
Findings show increased physical activity translates to better mental health, with more active children reporting higher levels of happiness, excitement, and motivation.
Only 12 percent of Tacoma’s kids are getting the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is below the state average of 23 percent and national average of 24 percent.
“Children are struggling more than ever with mental health post-pandemic. Knowing that physical activity is critical to their well-being, making Tacoma parks accessible and inviting is more important than ever,” said Elizabeth Bonbright, President of the Tacoma School Board. “We are delighted this collaboration with Metro Parks helps us better serve all children and provides home fields for our Stadium and Hilltop Heritage student athletes.”
In addition to the fields, the plan calls for multiple basketball courts and a sports court, amenities Hilltop and Central Tacoma teens have expressed high interest in for their neighborhood. A wave wheels track would provide young riders with an opportunity to develop cycling skills.
The reimagined Peck sports park focuses on more than organized sports though. The design features other highly desired amenities, including open lawn, a walking trail, playground, garden, and new building to provide opportunities for equipment check out, concessions and updated restrooms.
The plan includes neighborhood requests for improved public safety and overall access to the park, including an elevated crossing table suggested for South State and South 14th streets for traffic calming.
West of South State Street would be a section of de-paved asphalt to support rain gardens already created by neighbors, along with a native plant garden, orchard, garden building, and community green bordering a new multi-function parking area. Improvements are designed to sustain the park’s existing mature fir trees and add additional trees.
“The long road started with a rough patch, but we have arrived at the superb design representing Metro Parks accepting community feedback,” said Pete Reyes, a Hilltop father of two and a member of the Active Lifestyles & Community Wellness advisory group. “The designers did a superb job, and the plan is jampacked with amenities that the Hilltop community needs and deserves.”
Metro Parks is reimagining five Central/Hilltop area parks. Other properties include People’s Community Center, Stanley Playfield, People’s Park and Ferry Park playground.
Link to project presentation: Community_Meeting_Presentation_11.08.2023.pdf