JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Garrison and community leaders from Joint Base Lewis-McChord gathered Sept. 21 to celebrate the official opening of a new community park on Lewis Main with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
First announced in November 2022, the park transforms a gravel lot where the Army and Air Force Exchange Service minimall once stood across from the commissary, into a serene green space with walking paths weaving across.
Colonel Kent Park, JBLM commander, said he was excited about the potential the space offers, and how it could one day connect to other Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities located nearby, such as the bowling alley and Children’s Museum.
“It’s a long-term goal, but I really think this is just the beginning,” Park said. “It’s fantastic that we are able to make improvements in our community with places like this.”
Park also commended Charles Markham, the director of JBLM’s Directorate of Public Works, and his team for their efforts in making the park a reality.
Park commented about how much effort it took DPW to put this together and he said, “You and your team are the ones that made this happen and you did a phenomenal job.”
While the park immediately offers the JBLM community a green space to enjoy, officials did caution that the grass still needs time to take root and mature before it is ready for heavy, foot traffic. Visitors are encouraged to utilize the walking paths for the next few months.
Work at the park is not complete yet. JBLM officials are already hard at work on plans to add picnic tables and establish the utilities needed for food trucks to park at the site for future lunches and community gatherings by next spring or summer.
Park said his own vision would have a similar space created at McChord Field so food trucks could rotate to both areas.
While still being discussed, a more long-term plan for the park is to install shade platforms to provide cover from both rain and sun, allowing it to offer a comforting space to families throughout the year.
Col. Kent Park, center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord commander, cuts the ribbon to officially open the new community park on Lewis Main Sept. 21. He was joined by Col. Brandon Sokora, center left, JBLM deputy commander; Charles Markham, far left, director of JBLM’s Directorate of Public Works; Command Sgt. Maj. Kenne Hanson, second from right, JBLM command sergeant major; and community mayors from across the installation. (Photo Credit: Pamela Sleezer, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs)