Lakewood is moving forward with plans to build a stage at Fort Steilacoom Park.
The location, which has been the biggest concern for park users and neighbors, would be near a maintenance shed and caretaker residence off Angle Lane near the middle of the park. It’s the same spot the city uses for its annual SummerFest event stage.
The City Council unanimously approved the location Monday, but it didn’t approve a stage design.
“We have to be careful here that we don’t send a message to the community that we are approving a particular design because we haven’t decided what the business plan is and what the function is going to be,” Mayor Don Anderson said during the meeting.
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The council was presented with two stage designs last month. One looked similar to a picnic shelter with open sides; the other replicated a barn and had storage areas and walls.
The designs were recommended by the city’s volunteer parks and recreation advisory board after a lengthy process that included public input.
The city made a point to involve residents and park users after the backlash it faced in 2014 when an idea was floated to build an amphitheater near Lake Waughop in the 500-acre park. The Rotary Club of Lakewood pledged to raise $300,000 to help pay for it.
The council directed City Manager John Caulfield and parks and recreation staff to work on a business plan. The council also asked for cost estimates and funding opportunities.
Cost estimates so far have ranged from $750,000 to $1 million.