Tacoma, WA System and Strategic Plan (2024)


Located in Tacoma, Washington, Metro Parks Tacoma was created in 1907 by a vote of the people as an independent municipal corporation separate from the City of Tacoma for the purpose of operating a system of parks and recreation facilities. Metro Parks is a special purpose district and is the largest of its kind in the state. Metro Parks desired a document that would set goals, standards, and strategies for developing a parks and recreation system that is responsive to community demands and also contributes to a built environment that advances health for people and the planet. The plan focused on transitioning Tacoma towards becoming a “city in a park” to reflect the intent of integrating MPT’s work with partners who share the same goals of healthy people and a healthy environment in Tacoma.


Zec Eight Insights partnered with Herrera and ETC Institute to perform the required work over an 11-month period. The team focused on defining a new level of service (LOS) methodology. To do so, Herrera gathered and synthesized available GIS data sets to develop both static and dynamic maps and visualization instruments pertaining to park access, environmental considerations, and equity. Zec Eight Insights performed detailed recreation program assessments, conducted stakeholder engagement opportunities, analyzed existing system documents, altered the park classification system, and facilitated strategic visioning workshops. ETC Institute provided their expertise in statistically valid surveying which resulted in 511 collected responses with a precision rate of +/- 4.3% at the 95% level of confidence.


The final System and Strategic Plan consolidates the former Mission-Led Comprehensive Program Plan and Facilities LOS Plan into one document. Also, the final document is now part of the City of Tacoma’s Comprehensive Plan for the first time, meaning the plan’s strategies are managed by the State’s Growth Management Act. This gives an extra boost to developing Tacoma as a city in a park.

Alisa O’Hanlon Regala, Strategic Planning Manager
Metro Parks Tacoma
(253) 244-4318
4702 S 19th Street
Tacoma, WA 98405