Puyallup Herald

Puyallup’s Van Lierop Park is open and could see a spray park, orchard, sport fields

Puyallup opened the 18-acre Van Lierop Park on Tuesday. It is filled with walking paths lined with flowers and has views of Mount Rainier. More amenities are in the works.

The giant field is the first of two phases for a park that could include a spray park, sport fields and fruit tree orchard, according to Sarah Harris, the director of Puyallup’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The park currently has a Daffodil Plaza with a view of Mount Rainier, parking, a temporary trail to 134th Avenue East, and the first section of a multi-use trail called the Ernie Bay Connector.

Harris said the public can expect a crosswalk from the park to the Foothills Trail soon. A swing at the center of the park was dedicated to the vocal advocate who pushed the project forward, Dixie Gatchel.

Families and trail users already are enjoying the park. Larry Seaquist bikes the Foothills Trail into the new park. He said it’s wonderful to see the land used for something everyone can enjoy, rather than another warehouse distribution center.

“I love it,” Seaquist said. “It’s all the more reason to come here. It’s such a value to the whole community.”

The city paid $2.75 million for the land from Van Lierop Bulb Farm and an additional $2.1 million of city funds constructed the first phase. The Department of Commerce granted $485,000 to connect the Riverwalk Trail and the park.

Funding for the second phase has not yet been allocated, Harris said. Her department hopes to include the following:

Multi-purpose turf sport field with lights

Picnic pavilions


Farm-themed playground

Agricultural walk

Apple Blossom Circle and fruit tree orchard

Optional tennis courts, basketball courts and spray park

It looks like the public will have to wait for the added amenities. There is no time line on the second phase yet, Harris said. A master plan has been developed, but no funding has been allocated and there isn’t any budgeted for the second phase.

The park was once part of a 24 acres bought from Neil Van Lierop in 2015.

Step By Step purchased six acres for a banquet hall and restaurant to employ at-risk mothers for $1.25 million.

The public pushed for park designs to acknowledge the bulb farm heritage of the site, create multiple trail connections to the Foothills and the Riverwalk with necessary parking, provide a mix of recreational activities, buffer the park from future industrial development and preserve Mount Rainier views, Harris said.

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Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.