Dawson Playfield Improvements

Project Completed August 2021
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Pierce County completed renovation of Dawson Playfield in August of 2021. Renovations included:


  1. Perimeter path improvements – a 5’ wide asphalt path with distance markers to replace the existing informal dirt path.
  2. Playground expansion - including "big kid swings", and climbing and spinning elements. 
  3. Junior Hoops – playground-style bucket hoops that will provide basketball fun for the younger set without being taken over by older players. 
  4. Partial perimeter fence replacement – new 4’ high chain link fencing to improve the park’s appearance and prevent unauthorized driving into the park. 
  5. Softball field renovations – including a new backstop and ADA pathway to seating.
  6. Basketball court resurfacing.

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About the Project

Dawson Playfield is a popular neighborhood park located on the corner of 90th St. and Portland Avenue in Tacoma. Amenities at Dawson Playfield included a covered picnic shelter lighted softball field (non-regulation), outdoor basketball and tennis courts, playground equipment, restrooms, uncovered picnic tables, and a walking track

In 2017, Parks asked the public what improvements they’d like to see at Dawson Playfield. The tennis courts at Dawson Playfield were past their useful lifecycle and needed to be replaced. Drainage issues and a high groundwater level contributed to the poor condition of the courts, causing wide cracks on the playing surface.

Outreach Summary

Together with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, Parks worked to gather community input on how best to spend $150,000 to improve Dawson Plafield. Two meetings were conducted in the park, the first on July 29, 2017 to obtain ideas from the park users and the second on August 12, 2017 to vote on the proposed ideas. 

In April of 2019, Johnson & Sutherland Landscaping Architecture was hired to complete the design of the park improvements. After conducting a study of the top three options, Pierce County Parks shared those options and cost estimates at the following open houses in the summer of 2019.

In the Summer and Fall of 2019, the project team hosted two open houses to gather public input on a final design. The project team invited questions and comments following each presentation and encouraged attendees to share their feedback by commenting directly on boards around the room or completing paper surveys. Concurrently, an online open house allowed those who could not attend the Open Houses to participate.

Notable feedback from these outreach efforts suggested that for the play equipment, most participants preferred the swings, big globe climber, and double-decker spinner/climber. Participants also expressed an overwhelming preference to keep the baseball field.

Project Contact

Benjamin Barrett                                                 
Design and Construction Supervisor
253-798-4081 | email                                             

Sean Hanberg

Project Manager

253-798-4739 I email