We Are Earth Doctors: Point Defiance Park Waterfront Redevelopment
After 100 years of industrial use, portions of Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington were badly damaged. Environmental contamination and poor access limited the site’s potential as a go-to waterfront destination. Morgan McArthur, Tricia DeOme and their team of more than 70 GeoEngineers staff helped rehabilitate and revitalize the site. Building on this healthy foundation, the community redeveloped the site into the waterfront gem it was meant to be.
The project is a landmark redevelopment project for Tacoma. With a budget of approximately $60 million, it’s the largest single project ever undertaken by Metro Parks Tacoma. As the geotechnical and environmental subconsultant for the project, GeoEngineers made recommendations for regrading an unstable slope, a new road alignment and roundabout at the Pearl Street park entrance, a larger and more accessible boat trailer parking area, a new 11-acre waterfront park, new regional stormwater treatment facility and a new bike and pedestrian trail and bridge connecting the park to Ruston Way and downtown Tacoma. All of this new development meant lots of regrading and earthworks. In total, the geotechnical team managed the movement of approximately 400,000 cubic yards of soil.
Part of the project site was a federally designated Superfund site due to its proximity to the historical Asarco Smelter. Slag from the smelter was known to contain lead- and arsenic-laden byproducts that could put human health and the surrounding shoreline environment at risk. GeoEngineers tested and characterized soil at multiple locations within the site, assessed and removed underground petroleum storage tanks, supported the safe off-site disposal of some impacted soil and helped develop a plan to relocate and consolidate remaining contaminated soil safely on-site.
GeoEngineers’ environmental and geotechnical contributions to the Point Defiance Waterfront Phase 1 project helped revitalize this area of the park as a go-to Puget Sound destination for both locals and tourists. A remnant of the city’s unhealthy industrial past has been reborn as a premiere community hub that Tacoma can build its future development around. To read more about this landmark project, jump over to the complete project profile.
What is an Earth Doctor?
At GeoEngineers, we care about the health of our communities and approach our work from a holistic viewpoint. We’re dedicated to sustainable human development and the many projects that make it possible for us to live, work and play in our modern world. Every bridge, highway, high rise, energy transmission line, hydroelectric or water treatment facility we work on is a critical part of our lives. But we want more than just human development. We advocate for balance. We design for sustainability. We want our communities to thrive, and that means being more than just earth engineers—we need to be earth doctors.