Residents on the Eastside of Tacoma have learned to make do. On Thursday, for David Pender and his two daughters, that means and playing tennis on a court without a net.
Pender grew up on the east side, playing at the same park as his girls, just outside the Portland Avenue Community Center.
"I actually ripped my arm open and had 28 stitches climbing that fence right there," he said.
But there are other scars, the ones that aren't on his arms - the scars of a neighborhood he and others say are missing grocery stores and real estate investments.
"Yeah, I don't think we have enough resources," he said.
For the last few years, Metro Parks and Eastside neighbors have been working to open the Eastside Community Center, the first of its kind for this area.
"It's a part of Tacoma that’s sometimes forgotten,” said Ben Foster with Metro Parks. “This is an unprecedented project and it's a resource that’s much needed and deserved. It’s a place for people to congregate and participate in healthy activities and really feel a sense of community. “
The center is expected to open up in 2018. And, with the welcoming of the Eastside Center, Metro parks considered eliminating the Portland Avenue Center as well as the adjacent field space.
"I was in a state of disbelief that this park that's been here for so many generations would ever be in any position to be at risk, and other neighbors echoed the same feeling," said Stephanie Smith, who frequents the Portland Avenue Center with her kids.
She and others lobbied to try to keep it open to keep and keep more resources on the Eastside.
"We shouldn't exchange that for this. We shouldn't have to. We need equity on the east side," said Smith.
Metro Park’s Board recently voted to keep the athletic fields near the center, and now, Metro Parks is searching for a partner interested in the operating the Portland Avenue Center so that the physical space won’t close.
"Throughout the entire process we put community input and indolent at the forefront," said Foster.
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