Pierce County and a pair of local cities are making some progress on their effort to connect a series of short trails into a unified path connecting Chambers Creek Properties with Kobayashi Park in University Place.
Beginning in the late 1970s, the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Department acquired more than 200 acres extending more than 2½ miles into the wooded canyon that Chambers Creek flows through.
“It feels like you’re miles from a city,” said Joseph Coppo, senior parks planner for Pierce County. “It’s really unique.”
Residents have walked these trails for years, but they are primitive, disconnected and lack formal trailheads and parking.
The properties’ master plan calls for connecting the segments that run on both sides of the creek, including building one or more pedestrian bridges and installing formal trailheads, including limited parking. The trail would remain unpaved and be restricted to foot traffic.
At an open house this month, officials will invite comments on the conceptual plan as well as a proposed alignment for the unified trail.
Pierce County and the cities of Lakewood and University Place are involved in the planning.
Meanwhile, the City of University Place is close to securing property needed to connect Kobayashi Park with the city’s Leach Creek Trail east of Bridgeport Way.
With it, the city will have secured public rights to the trail extending to 15 acres it purchased from the University Place School District two years ago at the corner of Cirque Drive and Alameda Avenue.
The city intends to develop a park there.
The city still needs funding to secure a strip of property that would extend the trail to the city’s northeast limits. Long term, the city would like to connect the path to Tacoma’s urban trails, said David Swindale, UP’s development services director.
Meanwhile, the fate of the former home at Kobayashi Park, which UP acquired in 2004, remains unclear.
The city is considering a plan to gut the building and convert it into picnic pavilions. But some area residents are attempting to save the house, designed by a noted local architect and featuring unusual, Japanese-inspired architecture.