Letter to Membership
Posted Nov 17, 2019

The 2016 Joint Athletic Field Study was conducted by Metro Parks Tacoma (MPT) and the Tacoma School District (TSD) to evaluate the current and long term expected uses for every field in Tacoma. Among the study’s multiple findings was that Tacoma lacks - by a wide margin - a sufficient number of high quality fields to support youth and adult programs and activities. This fact can be further evidenced by when a field is improved with synthetic turf and lights, it is immediately fully booked to capacity.  Simply put, the Tacoma system of fields is already utilized to its capacity.
Recently, MPT finished a feasibility study that confirmed the market need for an 8 field sports complex (synthetic fields, lighted, multi-sport lines and amenities) facility and evaluated several potential locations.  The most promising location identified is on the eastern margins of the Tacoma Community College Campus (TCC) near South 12th and Pearl Streets.  

The need for additional fields and a sports complex of this size will only become exacerbated in the future:

1) Tacoma is growing. More and more people arrive here everyday, and they need places to play!
2) The MPT/TPS school athletics program - which is growing exponentially in popularity every year- is exposing multiple sports to new kids will result in more children wanting to play more often. With our current situation, we simply can’t accept the burden.
3) A centralized sports complex is an efficient and effective way to bring multiple fields that serve multiple sports on line in one location. 
4) A sports complex is a economic engine. The feasibility study for this project showed that over 450,000 visitors to the field could be expected in the first year of operation. These people will need restaurants and hotels, and they will bring new dollars to Tacoma’s economy. 
5) A centralized complex is important. It needs to be located in a place where all of Tacoma’s citizens can access it. TCC makes sense as a potential location because it is near Highway 16 and is on the route for Link Light Rail.

Those are just a few of the major points that support this concept. Additional resources can be found below:
1) 2016 MPT/TPS Field Study
2) 2019 Heidelberg Sports Village Study - specifically Workstream #3 (page 168)
3) Letter to TCC President Harrell from MPT Executive Director Sylvia
The Heidelberg Study identified that the TCC site as a preferred location for this complex. That being said, MPT is proposing to conduct an extensive public process to reconfirm the location and hear from the public over the next 3-4 months. MPT asks that all constituents understand that they will have an equal opportunity to be heard and be part of the decision making process. There is a loud contingent of citizens voicing concern about loss of walking trails and wildlife habitat whom are organizing in opposition to the TCC project. In order to keep this concept alive, it would be greatly helpful for the TCC Board of Trustees and their staff leadership to hear from citizens whom support such a project.

On Wednesday, November 20th at 4:00, the TCC Board of Trustees will be hearing from MPT on our next steps for this project. The meeting will be held on the TCC Campus, Building 12, Room 120.   Public comments will be received, probably starting around 4:45 - 5:00.

I encourage all to come and offer their own personal experiences with raising kids and living in this community and the lack of sufficient high quality fields.   Please also forward this to any and all that may be intersted in supporting the appropraite development of spaces that can support youth sports programs.

Thank you! 
Joe Nichols
President - NorTac