Puyallup: News

Visuals of Step By Step, Van Lierop Park projects shows a bustling community center

An aerial watercolor rendering depicts the Germaine Korum Center for Women and Children. In the background lies Van Lierop Park.
An aerial watercolor rendering depicts the Germaine Korum Center for Women and Children. In the background lies Van Lierop Park. Courtesy

After years in the making, two longtime Puyallup projects are finally coming to life.

New renderings of the projects show Step By Step, a nonprofit organization supporting at-risk pregnant women, and the city’s future Van Lierop Park side by side.

The result is a brand new gathering place for Puyallup and other local communities.

“What the city is bringing in terms of parks and ballfields not only brings customers to our site but makes that whole area more desirable to families and children,” said Step By Step founder Krista Linden. “We very much want to collaborate with them.”

What the city is bringing in term of parks and ballfields not only brings customers to our site but makes that whole area more desirable to families and children...We very much want to collaborate with them.

Krista Linden, Step By Step founder

Step By Step released an aerial rendering of what the organization expects its new Germaine Korum Center for Women and Children to look like when it’s completed. In the background, Van Lierop Park lies directly north.

Designs of Van Lierop Park released by the city also show what the park will look like next to Step By Step. The city has since chosen the “Puyallup Polders” design, which divides the 18-acre land into three polders, or water channels, meant to be reminiscent of daffodil fields in the Netherlands. The park also features a mound with a view of Mount Rainier, a daffodil lawn, a multipurpose field, tennis and basketball courts, play areas, trails and a 200-stall parking lot.

SBS AND VLP IMAGE
In the development agreement between the city of Puyallup and nonproft Step By Step, a diagram shows the Germaine Korum Family Center and Van Lierop Park designs side by side and how they would both play a role as a new community hub. Chris Beale, city of Puyallup Courtesy

The Germaine Korum Center and Van Lierop Park projects had a long history, starting six years ago when the city of Puyallup purchased 24 acres of Neil Van Lierop’s farmland. It was determined that 18 acres would go toward the park, while the remaining six acres would be developed by Step By Step for its community center.

Linden’s vision involved repurposing the property to create a multi-service center that would offer education and job training opportunities for the women the organization serves. The center will have on-site programs including job readiness, money management, mental health counseling, childcare and transportation, life skills and parenting classes. Along with that will come community services, including restaurant and catering services, wedding and event venue space and a greenhouse. The center is named after Germaine Korum, a local resident who has battled lung cancer for years and is known for her advocacy for women and children.

18-acre Van Lierop Farm

6-acre Germaine Korum Center forWomen and Children

The nonprofit raised $1.5 million in the first year of its capital campaign and officially purchased the land in January 2016.

From the very beginning, it was the intention for both projects to preserve the legacy of the Van Lierop Bulb Farm. A greenhouse on the Step By Step property will continue the tradition of growing flowers. At Van Lierop Park, daffodils are an integral part of the design process.

Step By Step has raised more than $4 million for the remodel only, and now needs to raise $1.2 million in the next month to open the community center in 2018. Already, wedding venue reservations have been made, Linden said.

The city approved the organization’s development agreement in August.

The city is seeking funds to continue the Van Lierop Park project. A $500,000 grant has already been secured to begin the $2.5 million Phase One of the project, which includes site stabilization, the daffodil view corridor and the connection of the Riverwalk and Foothills trails, which will be named after longtime Puyallup resident and civic activist Ernie Bay.

The city will continue to seek funding opportunities and that construction on Phase One is anticipated to begin next summer, said Puyallup Deputy Mayor John Palmer.

The City Council has noted that the proximity of the two projects is a great benefit to the community.

Both (the city) and Step By Step are excited about the synergy there. There’s an intent to work together.

John Palmer

“Both (the city) and Step By Step are excited about the synergy there,” Palmer said. “There’s an intent to work together.”

“(The Council) wanted it to look like a seamless site,” Linden said. “I think that we’re tremendously open to that.”

It’ll still take years to see the two projects to completion, but they’re both expected to begin construction in the coming months.

Allison Needles: 253-597-8507, @herald_allison

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