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Chinese Reconciliation Park got a facelift in 2015 ahead of big events. More work just started there.

Tacoma city workers spruce up Chinese landmark

James Jackelin, a City of Tacoma painter, explains this week's maintenance work on the Fouzho Ting in Chinese Reconciliation Park on Schuster Parkway.
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James Jackelin, a City of Tacoma painter, explains this week's maintenance work on the Fouzho Ting in Chinese Reconciliation Park on Schuster Parkway.

A fresh coat of paint for the elaborate centerpiece of a waterfront park in Tacoma doesn’t signal the same kind of major international event it did in 2015, city officials say.

Two years ago, Chinese workers materialized in Tacoma to give the crown jewel of the city’s waterfront Chinese Reconciliation Park substantial repairs without much advance public notice

That $40,000 project was followed, within weeks, by the surprise announcement that Chinese President Xi Jinping was coming to Tacoma on an official visit. His stop coincided with the announcement that a proposed methanol plant on the Tideflats would double in scale.

If completed, the plant would have become the world’s largest. Instead, after months of controversy roiled the city, the China-based company behind the project announced it had been scuttled.

Last week, observers could see fresh repairs happening again at the flame-red pavilion, known as the Fuzhoua Ting. This time, Tacoma employees are handling the work.

While city painter James Jaecklein, up in a cherry-picker bucket, labored away with a safety mask on his face a dozen feet off the ground, his colleague Stephen Williams explained the repair work was due to weather’s toll on the decorative installation.

The surface, he said, weathers quickly because its wood is covered by a burlap covering, bound to the structure by wood. Its vivid paint job goes on top of that.

“The Chinese said the paints would last for 10,000 years,” Williams said. “The paint probably will, but the resin won’t.”

The city workers are to complete fixing the pavilion’s weather coating and paint around Saturday (Aug. 26), at an estimated cost of $2,500, city spokeswoman Stacy Ellifritt said.

She said the city has not planned the work to prepare for any upcoming return of high-level officials or large industrial fossil-fuels projects, as far as she knows.

“To my knowledge,’ Ellifritt said, “all this is, is general maintenance of the park.”

Derrick Nunnally: 253-597-8693, @dcnunnally

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