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Lakewood and cash-strapped Pierce County are scheduled to begin negotiations over how Fort Steilacoom Park should be managed the next five years.
The agreement that the city and county signed in 2006 – which required each to pay $240,000 annually to cover the 340-acre park’s maintenance and operations — expires this year.
The agreement talks come as the city plans to hire a consultant to chart the future of the 340-acre park that’s owned by the state. The study includes examining whether it makes financial sense for Lakewood to assume control of the park’s nine-hole golf course. It will also give direction on how to market the park as a regional draw for visitors.
Lakewood officials hope the county will continue its contribution, especially because the city handles most of the day-to-day operations but likely can’t afford to cover more.
Officials say Fort Steilacoom has become one of the most popular destinations in the South Sound, playing host to sports tournaments, historical celebrations and other events.
But Pierce County is facing its own financial woes this year and has reduced funding for some of its other parks. To balance this year’s $269.3 million budget, the Pierce County Council cut more than 300 jobs, raised fees and eliminated services at 16 parks.
Read more about this story later in The News Tribune.