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Celebrate Lakewood’s new Hill Ward, but hard to forget the old

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on Feb. 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm with No Comments »
February 27, 2009 6:20 pm

EDITOR’S NOTE: The date of this public event is actually Saturday, March 14. We apologize for any confusion.

Remember the old Hill Ward property in Lakewood? The creepy, graffiti-scrawled, crumbling ruins at Fort Steilacoom Park was demolished once and for all a year ago.

On Saturday, Lakewood will celebrate the transformation of the Hill Ward from one-time Western State Hospital prison farm dormitory, to long-time public nuisance, to a landscaped community setting overlooking Waughop Lake.

The city, county and the state contributed more than $693,000 to restore the property.

The event happens at 4 p.m. at the park, 8200 87th Ave. SW. Organizers say it will be held rain or shine.

I don’t expect an invitation was extended to the Juggalos. They were the group of face-painted thugs — followers of the rap group Insane Clown Posse — who hung out at the Hill Ward In the summer of 2006 and preyed on 23 parkgoers. Lakewood police arrested eight individuals on suspicion of assaults and robberies.

I was never a member of the Juggalos, but I did visit the Hill Ward back in the ’80s when I was a college student at Pacific Lutheran University. A friend and I brought our dates there to spook them. It worked.

Now, as a husband and father of two girls, I will feel much more comfortable visiting the site in its current incarnation.

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