What is involved in this project?

    This project is a three-phase project to reconfigure the Luther Burbank waterfront docks in keeping with the 2006 Luther Burbank Park Master Plan. The plan outlines improvements that fall into three separate phases:

    • Retaining and renovating the north pier
    • Replacing the south piers with floating docks
    • Providing access improvements to the waterfront for small sail and paddlecraft as well as for non-boating users

    This summer the, City is developing concepts for these phases of work. A design charrette on August 6 will explore the choices we have within each phase of work. In late August and September, the public will be asked to weigh in on alternatives for each phase. This fall, the City’s consultants will develop a preferred alternative, and they will produce preliminary designs for each phase by the end of 2020. In 2021, this package of work will be submitted to local and state agencies for permitting. That usually takes a year and results in revisions to the plans. In 2022, the City will apply for grants to fund the construction of each phase. The phases of work that receive funding will be constructed in 2023 and/or 2024.

    Why replace the docks now?

    • An inspection of the docks in June revealed that the condition of the docks has worsened. Given the long lead times to obtain permits and grants for all the necessary work, we have to start now if we want to avoid closing the docks.
    • Most of this design project is funded by a Washington State Boating Facilities Program grant. The grant has a specific timeline and expiration date. This project needs to move forward to preserve the grant funding. The remainder of the project is funded by levy funds and park impact fees. This work has no impact on the operating budget.
    • This project has a short window of opportunity for public engagement. People use the docks intensely in the summer, and usage falls off rapidly in the fall. This is the best time of year to engage the public. If we miss this summer, we will have to wait a year for this opportunity again.

    How do I get involved?

    Start with the project webpage here on Let's Talk where you are welcome to give input anytime during the project. The design charrette on August 6 also provides several opportunities for the general public to ask questions and comment. Later in August, look for a public survey to share feedback about various design alternatives. When the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Commission is able to reconvene, City staff will deliver progress reports on the project to that body. Citizens can comment during public appearances at Commission meetings. City Council will have final say on all projects during periodic budget discussions and also includes public appearances on its agenda.

    Who is paying for this project?

    The City is paying 25% of the cost of the floating dock design work. Early design work on the other phases of the project will likely be reimbursed at similar rates when grants are secured. Overall, the City expects to pay less than half of the design costs. This reflects the use rates among residents and non-residents. A 2015 survey by Bellevue College found that 40% of park users were resident and 60% of park users were non-resident from random selection of park users over three weekends in late summer.  The City will continue to seek regional, state, and federal funding resources to fund the majority of the project costs.

    Is the old steam plant part of the project?

    The steam plant, also known as the Boiler Building, is not part of this project. However, the Luther Burbank Master Plan identifies the opportunity to renovate the building as a small boating center. A 2017 feasibility study provided the City with conceptual plans for the Boiler Building that will be coordinated with interfacing aspects of this project. Other ideas for the building (such as a restaurant) were thoroughly explored during the master plan process. Those ideas are not being revisited in this design process.

    When are you going to fix the bricks around the Handsome Bollards?

    The bricks around the Handsome Bollards will be repaired this summer. Small repair projects will continue to maintain the current function of the waterfront until the reconfiguration project is ready for construction.