From dining to the arts to the outdoors, it is shaping up to be a big year in the South Sound. Our features staff takes a look at some of the events and happenings that will be attracting plenty of interest as 2017 unfolds.
A long-held dream of South Sound trail advocates is expected to become a reality in 2017, said Theresa Turpin, capital projects manager for Pierce County.
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If all goes as planned, work to link the Foothills Trail between South Prairie and Buckley will be complete by the end of the year. When complete, the trail will travel from Puyallup to the White River in Buckley.
Turpin says the county hopes to complete work on the section closest to Buckley by fall. The section closest to South Prairie and the replacement of a bridge that was destroyed in a 2014 storm is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“Currently we are on schedule with the engineering and design to meet this deadline,” Turpin said in an email.
In addition to the trail connection work, the county is looking to repair the uneven section of completed trail in Buckley.
“Currently the trail is lumpy and bumpy due to cottonwood roots and choke cherry roots under the trail,” Turpin said. Work would include a root barrier to prevent damage.
Snow guns at Crystal
Crystal Mountain Resort is slowly stockpiling an arsenal of snow guns, but in 2017 the resort is taking its snowmaking capabilities to a new level.
“That’s our big project for next year,” said Tiana Anderson, Crystal’s spokeswoman.
The ski area plans to purchase 18 snow-making guns and install underground lines to fuel the devices.
Anderson said the 2017 plans call for installing extensive snowmaking from the base area to mid-mountain. The second phase of the project, which could could happen in 2018 or several years later, calls for installing snowmaking equipment farther up the mountain. Eventually, the snowmaking capabilities could extend to the top of the Forest Queen Express lift and part way up the Lucky Shot run.
Crystal added three new guns at a cost of $100,000 in 2015. The resort added another device before this season. Crystal has nine guns.
Snowmaking allows ski areas to open sooner and better handle poor snow years.
The expansion would give Crystal the largest snowmaking system in the state. Mission Ridge has the largest snowmaking operation. In 1976, the Wenatchee ski area became the first in the state to make snow.
Snoqualmie corridor facelift
This year stands to be a big one for outdoor recreation lovers who frequent state lands near North Bend and Issaquah. State Department of Natural Resources officials anticipate completing several projects.
By the end of summer, a new Mount Teneriffe Trailhead is expected, giving easier access for hikers in the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area.
A 15-mile trail system is expected to open by late summer in Raging River State Forest across state Route 18 from Tiger Mountain State Forest. The trails for hikers and mountain bikers will eventually link to the current 20-mile system on East Tiger Mountain, Taylor Mountain Forest, and in Snoqualmie and North Bend.
Also, expect new trail openings at Tiger Mountain starting in spring.
The 9-mile Olallie Trail in Olallie State Park east of North Bend is expected to open in summer. The trail was a team project involving DNR, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The trail is being designed with mountain bikers in mind.
In the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area, the state plans to complete by summer’s end a mile of work on the popular Mailbox Peak trail. DNR is also working on the Granite Creek Trailhead for access to rivers, lakes and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It’s also working with agencies to reconstruct Dirty Harry’s Peak Trail by the end of the summer.
Several Middle Fork Snoqualmie access points — Mine Creek, Champion Beach and Russian Butte View — are expected to open 2017.
Cellphones in Paradise
Making a call from the most popular spot in Mount Rainier National Park has always been difficult.
Some visitors claim to have a bit of luck making calls in some locations at and around Paradise, but service is hardly dependable.
That could change in 2017 as T-Mobile and Verizon have applied to install wireless communication facilities at Paradise.
No cell towers will be needed. Instead, the equipment would be placed in the attic of the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center with antennas mounted behind fiberglass on the east and west ends of the building. The fiberglass panels would be designed to match the exterior of the building.
Improved cell phone coverage could improve safety. After park law enforcement ranger Margaret Anderson was shot and killed by a visitor in 2012, a board of review recommended the park update standard operating procedures related to communication during crisis. Responding agencies, including the FBI, had trouble communicating in the park because of the lack of cell phone coverage, park officials told The News Tribune in 2012.
Year of the beer hall
Just call 2017 the Year of Beer Hall in Tacoma. Early January will bring the opening of Rhein Haus Tacoma, an outpost of the Seattle-based Bavarian beer hall of the same name. The tap list includes plenty of lager, house-made sausages and German dishes, such as sauerbraten and schnitzel. The 14,450-square-foot space will have four bocce courts, two full bars and room for 250 diners. Expect an early January opening in the Stadium neighborhood at 633 Division Ave., Tacoma.
What about that other German beer hall in Tacoma? Yes, the Berliner Pub is still opening in downtown Tacoma. And, yes, it’s delayed because they’re building the beer hall from scratch in a building that was derelict. Said co-owner Lydia Mascarinas, “We have been approved to start insulation and expect to have sheet rock up (soon). I think at this stage expecting a spring opening is not out of the question.” The beer hall will be at 2401 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.
Additionally, two breweries are expected to debut in Pierce County this year. They are the Forward Operating Base Brewing Co. in DuPont and Lost Woods Brewery in Bonney Lake.
Seattle invasion continues
The Seattle restaurant invasion will continue in 2017 with the opening of Casco Antiguo in The Henry Building on the Foss Waterway. The Seattle-based restaurant will duplicate itself in the 5,000 square feet space in The Henry. It will offer deck seating for about 50 and indoor seating for about 100. The menu will mirror the Seattle restaurant with modernized Mexican fare and a full bar.
This is the latest of several Seattle restaurants that have expanded to Tacoma. It started in 2015 with the opening of Seattle’s Elemental Pizza in downtown Tacoma and continued in 2016 with the opening of two Chow Foods restaurants near the Proctor neighborhood. And, of course, Rhein Haus is another Seattle restaurant company expanding southward in 2017.
Stay home and dine out
Early 2017 will bring one more layer of laziness to your daily life. UberEats is expecting to launch in Tacoma. The restaurant delivery service has dozens of restaurants signed up. The delivery service uses its stable of Uber drivers to deliver the food that’s ordered through a stand alone UberEats app. More information at ubereats.com.
New wing at Tacoma Art Museum
Last year Tacoma Art Museum scored a windfall, the donation of 225 major works of glass, sculpture and other art from Seattle patron Rebecca Benaroya, plus $14 million to build a gallery for it. That gallery construction will begin this year, with the museum planning a ground-breaking for July 11 to commemorate Benaroya’s late husband Jack’s birthday.
Led by JTM Construction and designed by award-winning Seattle architect Tom Kundig — who also designed the museum’s recent Haub wing — the Benaroya wing will add 6,850 square feet to the museum on the north side, including 4,380 square feet of gallery space (a 23 percent increase of the current exhibit space). There will also be restrooms and utility spaces. Construction is planned to finish by late 2018.
As with the Haub expansion, the museum says it will prioritize sustainability, diversity, and inclusion of local contractors and suppliers in the project. Visitors can get a sneak peak of the Benaroya collection in the exhibit “The Beauty of a Shared Passion,” around 60 works from the incoming gift up through April 23, 2017.
Art to spark the Lincoln District
Coming this summer to the Lincoln District: innovative public art that showcases and involves local residents. The art is part of the city of Tacoma’s Lincoln revitalization project, which includes better streetscaping to improve safety, economic development and community vitality in the area around South 38th and G streets.
A gateway project by Portland artist Horatio Hung-Yan Law on each end of the district and in the middle will include several cloud-shaped metal pieces glittering with sequins and representing things the Lincoln community wants to be talking about, Law said on a visit to Lincoln High School last year.
There will also be work by local artists: an intersection mural by Dionne Bonner, giant flowers on fences by Lance Kagey and Brian Hutcheson with inscriptions by residents, short films on local business owners by Silong Chhun, a video installation by Terese Cuff projected in a vacant store window, a vertical garden by Brittany Flowers, visual bus-shelter poetry by Michael Haeflinger and local youth, a Polaroid interview project by Lisa Kinoshita and Kenji Stoll, free cloth shopping bags printed with red Lincoln lanterns (Kimberly and Terry Sparks-Wilmer), a festival led by Latinos Unidos and a community sing-along led by Erin Guinup.
Some of the work is permanent, while some is temporary to give the district vitality during construction. Most will be installed in summer 2017.
‘Galloping Gertie’ octopus, Prairie Line Trail art
Downtown Tacoma will also get new public art this year, including a giant octopus. And we mean giant. “Gertie’s Ghost,” by Oakland artist Sean Orlando, will be a big steel sculpture of “tentacles” emerging from the sidewalk. Funded by Sound Transit under the policy that requires 1 percent of its budget for large public work projects to create public art, the abstract, industrial-looking “octopus” will stand as a gateway piece near the new rail line at Pacific Avenue and South 26th Street. Orlando worked with local communities to design the sculpture, which speaks to Tacoma’s industrial history and the legend of a giant octopus lurking in the ruins of the collapsed original Narrows Bridge. Installation is planned for summer.
Also coming this year is art for the Prairie Line Trail, a walking/biking path that follows Tacoma’s historic railway line through the museum district. While the section through the University of Washington Tacoma is complete, the section from Pacific Avenue next to Tacoma Art Museum and under Interstate 705, and the section from South 21st Street into the brewery district, is under construction and will feature a proposed art park between South 17th and 15th streets. The trail will connect to the Thea Foss Waterway and the Museum of Glass via Dock Street, creating an “art loop” walk between four Tacoma museums and the Bridge of Glass.
Artists submitted proposals in December. Selection takes place this month with designs in spring and installation during 2017. One proposed work is Hai Ying Wu’s “Shipment to China,” a large bronze railway cart honoring fallen 19th century Chinese railway workers that was rediscovered by the city in 2015 after nearly 20 years in storage. It’s on view at the Foss Waterway Seaport.
It looks to be a big year for local and original theater in Olympia. First up is a staged reading of John Pratt’s “A Lollard in the Wind, or Chaucer’s Dilemma” (Jan. 13-15) at Olympia Little Theatre. Olympia Family Theater has not one, but two new offerings this season: “Alice in Wonderland” (March 17-April 2), adapted by Kate Ayers, and “Fishnapped” (May 12-June 4), a musical by Amy Shephard, Andrew Gordon and Daven Tillinghast.
Home-grown comedy competition
Last year, Olympia’s Sam Miller participated in the Seattle International Comedy Competition. This year, Miller is starting his own. (He won’t be competing.) The competition will happen on the third Thursday of January, February and March, kicking off Jan. 19 at Rhythm & Rye. Proceeds will go to charities yet to be chosen.
Return of the light
The Illuminated Ball, the grand fundraiser for Olympia’s Procession of the Species and one of Olympia’s best opportunities to wear clothes that glitter, glow in the dark or actually shine, has gone dark for the past few years. The evening of dance, music and spectacle returns Jan. 14 at the Eagles Ballroom.