Tacoma’s People’s Park homeless camp cleanup cost taxpayers thousands

In January, People’s Park in Hilltop reopened after a three-week closure to clean up hazardous waste left behind by a homeless encampment.

The cleanup cost $29,264.84, according to invoices provided by the city. The city and Metro Parks are talking about splitting the cost.

Out of that, $25,840 was spent on labor and equipment with an additional $2,609.84 in taxes.

The city has spent $48,000 so far in 2020 for homeless encampment cleanup by Cascadia Cleaning and Removal Services.

The city spent a total of $149,000 in 2019 for homeless encampment cleanup and $142,000 in 2018, according to numbers provided by city staff.

The People’s Park camp had grown to around 70 tents on park property near the time of the cleanup, city staff estimated in January.

The park reopened on Jan. 30 with new topsoil and other minor improvements. Metro Parks spent $4,519 for the materials and labor.

The planting strips on 10th Street and L Streets and a portion of the turf area inside the park will receive additional renovations this spring. Those remaining costs will total $11,269: $2,969 in labor and $8,300 in materials like sand, seed, fertilizer and topsoil, Metro Parks shared Thursday.