Owen Beach Improvement Project Wins Awards

Metro Parks Tacoma’s Owen Beach Renovation Project has been recognized with at least three awards since it was completed in 2022, most recently winning a Public Works Project of the Year Award (Structures < $5 million) from APWA Washington just last month. GeoEngineers has been contributing environmental and geotechnical expertise to Point Defiance projects for more than a decade, and Owen Beach is the latest example of this long and successful partnership.

Owen Beach before construction.

Owen Beach closed for renovations in February 2021 and reopened in June 2022 with a new road and trail entry/exit, an expanded parking lot with ADA-accessible zones, new restrooms, benches, a climbable whale sculpture, and a new facility for community gatherings and science classes. Last year, the project was honored with the Washington Recreation and Park Association’s (WRPA) Park Spotlight Award, and an Award of Honor from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Washington.

A GeoEngineers team led by Katy Ataktürk, Tricia DeOme, Brett Larabee, Aaron Waggoner, and Morgan McArthur performed geotechnical and environmental investigations to characterize soil, managed permitted soil removal and disposal during excavation, assisted with NPDES permit requirements, delivered recommendations for the new buildings and roadway subgrades, and observed construction activities. Habitat assessments, mitigation plans, and permits were also a significant part of the project, and David Conlin, Ken Fellows, Joe Callaghan, and GeoEngineers’ natural resources team helped our client, Site Workshop, navigate local and federal regulations.

Owen Beach after construction.

In total, GeoEngineers has completed more than 20 projects on Point Defiance. Earlier work includes the award-winning transformation of a heavily contaminated former smelter site into Dune Peninsula, an 11-acre park featuring trails, unique landscaping, a small pavilion picnic area, and incredible views of the Puget Sound. Our team also contributed geotechnical and environmental services for the Wilson Way Pedestrian Bridge that connects the peninsula with the rest of the park and marina, and additional roadway improvements. Since 2022, Aaron Waggoner and Morgan McArthur have been providing environmental and geotechnical services for the ongoing Point Defiance Loop Trail, which will improve pedestrian and vehicle safety for park visitors.

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