It's not a surprise to people visiting the newly opened Dune Peninsula that Metro Parks Tacoma just received a national award.
“There’s no place in the country that deserves this more,” said park visitor Delores Biblarz. “This is paradise here.”
“The park is beautiful,” said Chris Biblarz, who was carrying her granddaughter Lila. “I’m going to take her down to the other part where there’s a playground.”
This week, Metro Parks received a gold medal from the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.
“We’re blown away. It’s such an honor to win this award,” said Metro Parks spokesman Hunter George.
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George said a big reason for the award is the people of Tacoma who have put up the money to improve the city's park system. In 2005, voters approved an $84 million bond and, in 2014, they approved a $198 million. Matching grants and donations pushed the total to more than $400 million combined.
Metro Parks used the money to turn what had been a slag pile from the long shut-down Asarco smelter into Dune Peninsula and fund a more than $51 million upgrade to the Point Defiance Aquarium.
George said Metro Parks will now focus on smaller parks spread across the city.
“Now, we move into the neighborhoods, and we’re going to spend millions of dollars improving neighborhood parks throughout the city,” he said.
Cox Media Group