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Sperry dock action continues city’s waterfront reclamation

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Aug. 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm with 2 Comments »
August 12, 2011 5:14 pm

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Tacoma’s Planning Commission is on the right track with a proposal that would put the brakes on any future expansion of the Sperry Ocean Dock.

The commission’s proposed recommendation – that the area along Schuster Parkway where the dock is sited be redesignated from “high intensity” to “urban conservancy” – is among several changes to the city’s Shoreline Master Program that the commission will vote on Wednesday. The City Council will make the final decision this fall.

“Urban conservancy” is the same designation that covers the Ruston Way waterfront so beloved by local folks. Extending the zone protected from heavy commercial use to the Sperry dock is a logical continuation of what the city’s been doing in recent years: reclaiming the shoreline from its industrial past and making it a people-friendly place.

No jobs will be lost with the redesignation. The two enormous gray cargo ships stored on the site – the Cape Island and Cape Intrepid – won’t be evicted. The dock can continue as a nonconforming use, it just won’t be allowed to expand. City staff say that at some point, if the cargo ships go away, the deep-water site could be used to dock cruise ships.

A long-term goal with the redesignation is to provide more public access to the waterfront. Today, people who want to walk from the Foss Waterway Esplanade to Ruston Way have to cross Schuster Parkway and walk along the bluff – not ideal, but not a huge inconvenience.

Ideally, the boardwalk would continue along the water; that’s not possible today because of the TEMCO grain elevator, Sperry dock and railroad tracks.

The city and the employers should work together on a walkway solution that will allow greater public access while not compromising the work sites’ security. These last vestiges of Tacoma’s working waterfront past do provide jobs, and those are worth preserving.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. DrWernerKlopek says:

    “No jobs will be lost with the redesignation.”

    Not at the moment but when they do we all can point to the fact that the TNT does not care about people or jobs other than their own.

    “Ideally, the boardwalk would continue along the water; that’s not possible today because of the TEMCO grain elevator, Sperry dock and railroad tracks.”

    So that is also on the record. The TNT hates businesses too and would rather cater to a bunch of eco-terroristic nut bags than common sense hard working people. In case you missed it TNT lots of people are unemployed and when more jobs go away no doubt you will be championing that as well. Or maybe you will have pangs of regret and start hand wringing “Why don’t more businesses move or stay here?”

  2. I’m sure teh people in teh Stadium District will be much happier with weekly cruise ships, the weekly exhaust they they generate and the traffic. Good Grief! And how does a cuise terminal fit into the dream of a continuous trail from the Foos Waterway to Point Definace?

    If the prospects of a cruise terminal at Sperry Dock are reason to support this, then I’d say it doesn’t deserve support.

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