Wapato Park, W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory work underway

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The massive earth-moving effort that’s been going on at the Point Defiance Park waterfront may grab a lot of attention, but Point Defiance is far from the only Metro Parks site undergoing a remodel this year.

One such project breaks ground this week at the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright Park. The antique conservatory was built in 1908 and is one of three public Victorian –style conservatories on the West Coast.

image004When the new addition is complete, likely in December, the Conservatory for the first time will offer restrooms open to the public. Plans call for two unisex restrooms, a storage room, an outdoor plant-potting area, and a glass vestibule, which will connect the addition to the Conservatory’s north wing.

Construction is not expected to disrupt public access; the Conservatory will remain open on its regular schedule throughout the building process.

Also underway is a dock reconstruction project at Wapato Park. Along the lakeshore, Metro Parks is replacing two deteriorating wooden docks. One of the new docks will have an attached ramp leading to a floating hand launch, useful for canoeists, kayakers and paddle boarders. In addition to the new docks, plans call for a new fish-cleaning station. Other amenities include new pathways, benches and additional landscaping – all related to the dock project.

At Wapato Park, demolition of the existing docks started in July; the project is scheduled to be done in January. The park is open to the public during construction.

Both the Conservatory remodel and the Wapato dock reconstruction would not be in the works without the support of Metro Parks voters who in 2014 approved a $198 million bond issue, which helps pay for these and other projects.

Earlier this year, Metro Parks successfully treated Wapato Lake water to reduce public exposure to toxic algae. The water is now safe for non-motorized boats and paddle boards, and for kids to dip their toes in.

Learn more about bond-related developments at Metro Parks Tacoma sites.

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