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 for more.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

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

New report shows increase in East King County homelessness

East King County includes Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland and Issaquah.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo.
Renton battles King County over temporary shelter at Red Lion Hotel

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

A Mercer Island High School senior at June’s drive-thru graduation ceremony. Photo by Joe Chen
What’s ahead for Mercer Island students

Though it doesn’t have definitive answers just yet, the Mercer Island School District recently shared a comprehensive update detailing what might happen this fall.

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

The Islander Middle School field was recently used as the meet-up point for a June 12 Black Lives Matter protest. Blake Peterson/staff photo
Islander Middle School field to be closed for renovations July 20-Aug. 31

The field’s synthetic turf is to be replaced; new coating, patching and painting will also be completed.

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

File photo.
Parks Department provides new update on closures, availability of amenities

The comprehensive update was published last week.

Council chambers. Photo courtesy city of Mercer Island
                                Council chambers. Photo courtesy city of Mercer Island
Boards, commission meetings resuming over Zoom

Starting July 8, board and commission meetings will be held remotely akin to the city council.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Most Read