Joggers, dog owners and other visitors hoping to walk the Central Meadow at Chambers Creek Regional Park on Monday instead found a chain-link fence and orange construction cones blocking their way.
The closure of one of the park’s most popular public amenities was the first in a series of shutdowns on the 930-acre property. The USGA will use these weeks to prepare for the U.S. Open golf championship to be held June 15-21 at Chambers Bay.
The large grass area, Bridge to the Beach and off-leash dog park are now closed until after the tournament. The Central Meadow parking lot, restrooms and access to the Grandview Trail via the lower parking lot remain open for now.
By the end of this week, park visitors will get their first glimpse of the tent city that will cater to the roughly 30,000 daily spectators at the tournament.
The massive structures going up in Central Meadow include the championship pavilion, merchandise area and media tent. By the start of the tournament approximately 500,000 square feet of tents will encompass the site, according to Tony Tipton, Pierce County’s director of Parks and Recreation.
“We’re giving ourselves 90 days to get all that ready,” Tipton said.
Tipton estimated the majority of the park would reopen by Aug. 1, with some grass areas remaining off limits until restored.
The off-leash dog area will also reopen after the tournament. County officials were previously unsure about the park’s future but have since decided to put the fence back up, Tipton said.
The next round of closures will happen April 20. That’s when the North Meadow, Soundview Trail and access to the Central Meadow parking lot and restrooms are closed.
The final round of significant closures will be May 26 when the Chambers Bay golf course, Playground by the Sound and Grandview Trail close.
The Chambers Bay Grill will remain open until June 7. The pro shop, upper parking lots and the parking lot of the nearby Environmental Services building will close June 10.
One person who didn’t let Monday’s closures deter his plans was Trent Frederickson. The DuPont resident decided over the weekend that the Bridge to the Beach would be the perfect spot to propose to girlfriend Brooke Couch.
The county agreed to let the couple walk to the bridge on Monday afternoon. There, Frederickson produced a ring for Couch’s finger — and a lock with their names on it to be clasped to the bridge.