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Fear not, Cappa site is not being developed

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Confusion-fueled controversy erupted back in 2013 and then again earlier this year about the City of Fife’s plans for a site along Pacific Highway known as the Cappa property.
Fear not, those plans have not changed. The site clearing people are currently seeing along Pacific Highway doesn’t involve the Cappa site. The work is clearing ground on the parcel directly next to the Cappa site. That property will be an expanded parking lot for the Lexus of Tacoma dealership at the Fife Auto Mall.
The city’s plans for the Cappa site remain unchanged. Fife has a “living estate” agreement with the Cappa family that the city will start the process of developing the planned park site only after the owner dies.
“We will do nothing to violate that plan,” said Parks Director Kurt Reuter.
The $3 million property is a flat and largely open site between the Puyallup Tribe’s Salish Cancer Center and the Auto Mall with a farm house and a cluster of trees near the corner of Pacific Highway East and 40th Avenue Court East.
Any park proposals would even be several years after the remaining Cappa sister dies since the city would hold a series of public meetings to develop a master plan for the 6.5 acre site followed by a plan to pay for any work that would be called for in that yet-developed master plan. The city has no plans to even start that master-planning process since the actual park development could come decades from now and the city doesn’t want to ask area residents for their thoughts on how the park should look since those views could change by the time the park plan even starts taking shape.
“We have put ourselves in a holding pattern,” Reuter said.
The only “movement” on the development of a future park on the site was that the city bought a parcel of land known as the Hunt Club property between the Cappa site and Interstate 5 to expand the overall site and, therefore, options for the future park. The future park will span about 6.3 acres that are composed of six different parcels, each spanning between three acres to as small as .08 acres. Whatever amenities the park will eventually have after the park-development process starts, the city’s goal is to preserve and protect some of the last former farmland left in the city.
“It will be really nice to have a green oasis in the asphalt jungle in that area,” Reuter said.
Although not formally called Cappa Park since no such park exists, the future open space will most likely bear the Cappa name, since the city’s policy is to remain historical names for parks and developments, namely Dacca Barn and Brookeville.
The reaffirmation that the city’s plans for the Cappa site should calm fears people might have about the site as they see bulldozers and construction crews in the area. A now-shutdown petition had been blasting the city for going back on its agreement to develop the Cappa site into recreational open space. That petition had gathered several online signatures before the misidentification of the property was discovered and the petition dissolved.