GIG HARBOR, Wash. – “I’ve lived near Tacoma Narrows for 25 years,” said Friends of Tacoma Narrows Airport vice president Roger Gruener. “I’m not a pilot, but I’ve enjoyed bringing my kids, and now grandkids, out to the airport to watch the planes.”
That sentiment was the cornerstone of the newly dedicated Rotary Aviation Zone at Tacoma Narrows Airport (TIW).
“We started with the idea of a ‘play area’,” continued Gruener. “But the FAA doesn’t do ‘play areas’. It needed to be a functional part of the airport.” And that it is.
The zone features an ADA-accessible observation tower, a viewing shelter and tables. Future plans include adding additional displays about aviation and the airport, more lighting and potentially a small mounted airplane.
The zone is a joint effort between the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, The Friends of Tacoma Narrows Airport, and Pierce County. Funding was provided by all three organizations, while the concept and volunteer work to build the zone was handled by The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor and The Friends of Tacoma Narrows Airport.
“We love to build projects like this,” said Dick Vanberg, The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor president. “The community will use it. It involves the different skills of several members. We like to work together as it builds our friendships. And our Rotary name will be seen by so many people.”
The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor contributed approximately $25,000 toward the structures, while The Friends of Tacoma Narrows Airport contributed nearly $5,000 to the site. Pierce County contributed approximately $18,000 to pay for materials.
Timing for the completion of the zone is perfect. Tacoma Narrows Airport is just a few miles from Chamber Bay golf course, site of the June 15-21 U.S. Open golf tournament.