The Waterfront Park in Tacoma is a magnificent outdoors destination, located on Ruston Way, has many visitor attractions and events. Along Ruston Way is a pathway for walkers, bicyclists, skaters, etc. to enjoy the secret shores along the water. There are also numerous adjacent restaurants including: C.I. Shenanigan’s, Duke’s Chowder House, Harbor Lights, Katie Downs Tavern and Restaurant, Ram Restaurant and Brewery, and the Lobster Shop.
There are also a couple memorials along the waterfront in honor of our firefighters. There is a ship along the waterfront near Duke’s restaurant, which is the Fire boat number one. It has been placed on the national register of historic places by the U.S. Department of the Interior since 1929. The ship was built in 1929 and was one of the first boats on the west coast built specifically for firefighting. The fire boat number one served the community for 54 years by providing: fire protection, security patrols, search and rescue missions, and water pollution control. For most Tacoma residents, the boat was best known for its spectacular colored water displays on the Fourth of July.
There is also a Tacoma Fallen Firefighters Memorial dedicated in honor of those firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. There are bricks that have names inscribed on them in memory of the firefighters. Be sure to study the interesting timeline of the Tacoma Fire Department’s history starting at the year 1880 to 2001. The memorial had been made possible through the efforts of the Tacoma Firefighter memorial association, the Professional Firefighter Local #31, the city of Tacoma, Tacoma Fire department, Tacoma Arts Commission, major sponsors and individuals. There is also an inscription of gratitude to all the major donors including: the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Tacoma, Washington to name a couple.
There are many Tacoma residents who visit the Waterfront Park. Gail Turner, a resident of Tacoma visits the Waterfront once a month and in the summer more often. She likes to visit the waterfront to eat and walk. When asked what she thought of the waterfront, she replied, “We [referring to her husband and herself] love it. We like the salt air…atmosphere. I think it’s uplifting. I like to see people out and about walking their dogs.” Gail recommends locals and visitors to visit the waterfront. “We like to bring out of town people down here, too. Of course people with families and people with pets, too. Great place,” she said. Gail explained that many people may not know that: “It’s [the waterfront] free, free parking, free strolling, that’s a good thing. Good parking, easy to get a spot always,” she said. “We love it!” she added.
Tryce Ouhl, a student, was walking the waterfront. He visits the waterfront once a week for the past two years. “I generally come out because I love the beach and nice ocean. It’s really calming for me. Generally, there are not a lot of people out here,” Tryce said. When asked what he thought of the waterfront, he replied, “I think there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a beautiful place and I really enjoy being out here.” When asked who he would recommend visit the waterfront, Tryce replied, “People who just wanna relax, calm down, exercise…obviously.” “It’s [the waterfront] not a sandy beach to bring your kids to, but good for sightseeing,” he added.
Still many others enjoy the waterfront. Fred Fincham, a Tacoma resident for 35 years, tries to walk the waterfront three times a week and has done so for the past five years. He believes the waterfront is a nice place to exercise. “I love it [the waterfront]. It’s a nice place to come and get away and nice because the breeze fumes go away from you. Healthiest place to walk in town.” Fred recommends the waterfront to everyone. “It’s multipurpose. A lot of people walk the kids and play by the water,” he said. When asked what people may not know about the waterfront, Fred replied, “Well, I think people stop walking in front of the fish market, which is three to four miles too early. There’s a pagoda that’s wonderful and beautiful at the reconciliation park. It’ll be wonderful when it’s finished.”
Diana Shcherbanyuk, a student, visited the waterfront almost every day last year and plans to continue that tradition this year when spring begins. When Diana visits the waterfront, she likes to roller skate and walk. “I like it [the waterfront]. I just hate it when it’s windy. It’s nice at night. I like the open view and road. I like the little park at the end that they just built,” Diana said. She recommends that “almost anyone” visit the waterfront. “For young people it’s nice to roller skate and run. It’s cute when old people such as a grandpa and grandma are holding hands,” Diana commented. “It [the waterfront] looks really big, but if you’re going with a group, time passes by quick,” Diana added.
Lily Prokoshina, a college student, does not visit the waterfront very often. However, when the weather is warm, she visits once a month. When asked why she visits the waterfront, she replied, “Just walk, enjoy the weather and view when I’m down and relax.” “It’s beautiful [the waterfront]. Very open space a lot of places to walk,” Lily added. Lily recommends anyone to visit the waterfront, “Families, youth, elderly, anybody who wants to exercise or relax also rest here for a romantic dinner,” she said.
Shantiel Anthony, a resident of Tacoma, has been visiting the waterfront all of her life. She explained how she had just came back from out of state where there was desert and no water. Shantiel visits the waterfront, “to walk around and enjoy whatever scenery,” she said. “I think it’s awesome [the waterfront]. I think it’s beautiful,” Shantiel commented on the waterfront. Shantiel recommends the waterfront park to, “Family, friends, anybody because it’s a great place to build memories,” she said. “It’s always great to spend time here on a sunny day,” Shantiel added.
It appears that residents in and around the Tacoma area enjoy the Waterfront Park for exercise, inspiring relaxation, and beautiful scenery. “I think it’s the main attraction in Tacoma. Anybody who visits Tacoma should visit Ruston Way at least once. I think it’s better than Alki [beach],” Lily concluded.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com