Mercer Island may close Groveland Beach Park this summer for long-awaited repairs. File photo

Mercer Island may close Groveland Beach Park this summer for long-awaited repairs. File photo

Mercer Island’s Groveland Beach may close for summer repairs

The city will spend almost $1 million on improvements if a project bid is approved.

Islanders may have one less way to access the water this summer.

The Mercer Island City Council voted on March 20 to solicit bids for a restoration project at Groveland Beach Park. The city is planning to shut down use of the park’s deteriorating docks on May 1, before the high-use summer season, but anticipates keeping the playground open, said natural resources manager Alaine Sommargren.

Sommargren is planning to come back to the council in early May with a request for bid award. If the council decides not to go through with the project this year, only the docks will be closed, and not the swim or picnic areas, she said.

Groveland is one of two public beaches with lifeguards on Mercer Island and the repair or replacement of its docks has been included in the city’s six-year capital plan since 2013.

The project’s funding has been delayed and reduced as the city has juggled other capital needs, reallocating half of the Groveland budget to the sports field renovation at Island Crest Park last year.

In 2014, an engineering consultant determined that the summer of 2017 was the last season the Groveland docks could be used without an upgrade.

“This is obviously a project we need to take care of,” said council member Benson Wong. “It would be great to make this dock useful as soon as we can.”

The large dock and concrete bulkhead at the beach, both constructed in 1967, were set to be replaced at the end of their “useful life,” at a cost of about $1 million, two years ago. In addition to postponing the project, the council reduced the scope from a replacement to a repair.

If they wait much longer, a repair may not be an option.

“Permitting agencies have limitations about how long docks can be left unusable,” which is about 12 months, Sommargren said.

The total project cost is still expected to be about $962,000, and involves repairing the substructure of the large dock and installing a wave attenuation system, which will reduce erosion on the shoreline, Sommargren said. The repairs to the large dock are expected to extend its lifespan by 10-15 years.

The small dock will be removed, cutting costs and improving sight lines for lifeguards.

To fund the project, the city will use money from the King County Parks levy and savings from Island Crest and Clarke Beach Park projects, as well as 2017 real estate excise tax (REET) surplus or one-time money from the merging of the criminal justice and general funds, said finance director Chip Corder.

Construction is expected to begin in June and last through November this year, with shoreline access re-opening in early 2019.

Much of Mercer Island’s infrastructure, from parks to pipes, is about 50 years old and will need to be replaced soon, according to the city. As part of its public outreach concerning the upcoming budget deficits, the city asked a community advisory group to look at its operating and capital needs.

The group, which has been weighing the merits of a levy lid lift, will soon make its recommendation to the city council.

See www.mercergov.org/FinancialChallenges for more.

This piling, holding up the dock at Groveland Beach Park, is 50 years old and in need of repair. The beach will close this summer for construction from June to November, with shoreline access re-opening in early 2019. File photo

This piling, holding up the dock at Groveland Beach Park, is 50 years old and in need of repair. The beach will close this summer for construction from June to November, with shoreline access re-opening in early 2019. File photo

More in News

King County Correctional Facility is located at 500 5th Ave., Seattle. File photo
King County jail’s leaky pipes have national implications

Lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court alleges Aquatherm has been selling faulty pipes.

A full room of Mercer Island residents questioned candidates running for City Council Pos. 7 and School Board Pos. 5. Madeline Coats/staff photo
Candidates for council and school board attended forum

The King County Primary Election is on Aug. 6.

Island transit update: Parking for transit remains limited; layover space plans move forward

Proposed underground parking site near Freshly’s abandoned as developer bows out.

Three candidates aim to fill an open seat in the Mercer Island City Council

Debbie Bertlin, Robin Russell and Jake Jacobson compete for Position No. 7.

Recology will soon be replacing Republic as Mercer Island’s garbage removal service. They will be responsible for collecting compost, garbage and recycled material for residents. Madeline Coats/Staff photo
Island residents express concern over contract with Recology

City Council approves 10-year partnership with new garbage removal service.

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

One male, female dead after car shooting at Luther Burbank Park

Parking area will remain closed as investigation continues Saturday.

An aerial photo shows the locations of two earthquakes and five aftershocks in and near Monroe, which rattled the Puget Sound region early Friday. The first was the magnitude 4.6 quake at upper right, 13 miles under the intersection of U.S. 2 and Fryelands Boulevard SE at 2:51 a.m. The second, magnitude 3.5, occurred 18 miles under the Old Snohomish-Monroe Road at 2:53 a.m. The aftershocks followed during the ensuing two hours. This image depicts an area about 3 miles wide. (Herald staff and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network)
Early wake-up call: Twin quakes under Monroe rattle region

Thousands of people felt them. They were magnitude 4.6 and 3.5 and hit minutes apart.

Most Read