Pictured is a screenshot from the Luther Burbank Park waterfront-renovations charrette.

Pictured is a screenshot from the Luther Burbank Park waterfront-renovations charrette.

Overflow crowd participates in waterfront-renovations charrette

A virtual design charrette focused on Luther Burbank Park waterfront renovations was overflowing with participants on Aug. 6.

Built in 1974, the park’s waterfront docks have an estimated five more years of useful service left and the city is exploring ways to repurpose the aging berths in the next three to four years.

According to the Mercer Island Parks & Recreation Department, one concern is that the fixed height piers aren’t useful for smaller boats, and they are looking at likely reconfiguring one or more of the piers to become floating docks while the remaining pier is repaired.

The Aug. 6 three-hour discussion — which was attended by city officials, consultants, engineers, kayakers, rowers, paddle boarders and more — delved into shoreline access, ADA, plaza elements and more.

Comments at the meeting ranged from concerns about how fishing access might be affected, to small-boat safety when launching and returning to the docks, to social distancing.

Other key comments brought forth were water safety and educational opportunities for youths, and to try and bring a sense of calmness to the area during these uncertain times.

The moderators noted that they would use the following criteria when compiling a game plan: safety, cost, environmental impacts, alignment with grants, revenue generation by supporting camps and more, and access from the parking lot, shore, upland areas and water.

Paul West, Parks & Recreation Capital Projects and Planning manager, said the ideas from the charrette could be presented to the public online and onsite via posters during the last week of August.

“If all goes well, we’ll be bringing this to the Parks & Recreation Commission sometime in the fall,” West said.

One commentor noted that participating in the charrette with a younger family member was a great experience.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for family engagement,” West added. “A family could walk down to the park, look at the posters, actually walk around the docks and take it all in and give us some very useful information.”

The meeting can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/Bpc-9EgUbOs

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