A heavily used parking lot at the north entrance of Chambers Creek Regional Park overlooking Chambers Bay golf course will soon close for seven months.
Pierce County officials say the closure that begins Feb. 2 is not tied to preparations for this summer’s U.S. Open golf championship.
They say they’re launching a project to expand public parking to more than double the number of spaces now available to users of that section of the park.
The U.S. Open will start leaving its footprint at the park several weeks later; a series of closures of pedestrian trails and other public amenities will be announced as the United States Golf Association begins taking over space for the June 15-21 event.
The affected parking lot is located off Grandview Drive West and provides the closest access to the North Meadow area as well as the large playground known as Playground by the Sound. The park is part of the county’s larger 930-acre Chambers Creek Properties.
The $1.2 million project will add roughly 50 parking spaces to the 39 that the lot currently has. Funding comes from Pierce County Public Works and Utilities.
The county will add a connecting parking lot in a wooded area that runs parallel to 48th Street West. It will offer closer access to the playground; families now now have to cross through a grassy area to reach the play area.
The entrance and exit from Grandview will also be widened, and an access road connecting the existing parking lot to the new lot will be built. A paved pedestrian path will be widened adjacent to the new parking lot.
The bike lane along Grandview will be closed at times, and drivers can expect some short-term delays.
The site will be cleared beginning in February, but work will have to stop from April to July for the U.S. Open. The USGA is expected to use the cleared site during the weeklong championship.
Construction will resume in early August and is expected to be complete by mid-September.
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy sympathized with frequent visitors to the playground and North Meadow trail who will be inconvenienced by the closure. People will have to find parking along Grandview and walk to the park and playground during those seven months.
“There will be a little discomfort in the short term,” McCarthy said. “You will still have access to the playground. I think that’s critical.”
There will be intermittent closures of the playground during construction. The North Meadow restroom and adjacent Grandview Trail will remain open.
For more information on the project, visit piercecountywa.org/NMparking.