Luther Burbank Docks - Reconfiguration and Repairs

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The City's Public Works Department has begun planning for the future of the docks at the Luther Burbank waterfront. Built in 1974, the docks have less than 5 years of useful service remaining. In addition, the fixed height piers are not useful for smaller boats and don't serve the needs of most current boaters or the City's boating programs.

The City is developing a design to replace the south pier with floating docks while repairing the remaining pier, pending possible state and federal grant funding. This work will use the Luther Burbank Park Master Plan to guide the design process. The plan provides a vision of a waterfront activity center centered around small boats including power, sail and paddlecraft. The design will also consider how to make the waterfront more accessible and attractive for the general public.

The City's Public Works Department has begun planning for the future of the docks at the Luther Burbank waterfront. Built in 1974, the docks have less than 5 years of useful service remaining. In addition, the fixed height piers are not useful for smaller boats and don't serve the needs of most current boaters or the City's boating programs.

The City is developing a design to replace the south pier with floating docks while repairing the remaining pier, pending possible state and federal grant funding. This work will use the Luther Burbank Park Master Plan to guide the design process. The plan provides a vision of a waterfront activity center centered around small boats including power, sail and paddlecraft. The design will also consider how to make the waterfront more accessible and attractive for the general public.

  • Parks and Recreation Commission Approves Concept Design

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    02 Apr 2021
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    At its April 1 meeting, the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Commission approved a concept design for the Luther Burbank docks and adjacent waterfront. The Commission will forward its recommendation to Mercer Island City Council which is schedule to consider it at its May 18, 2021 meeting.

    The main work product is a graphic plan which is accompanied by a list of the design elements giving more explanation.

    This work product was the result of six meetings of the Commission and four meetings of its dock subcommittee. It calls for new floating docks that will serve small powerboats and non-motorized watercraft, an expanded beach area to the north of the plaza with ADA access to the shoreline, and plaza renovations that update the 47 year-old facility. Construction of these improvements is still several years away. Design will be completed in 2022 which enables the City to apply for state and local grants to support the construction. Even so, this comprehensive scope of work will likely be completed in phases as funding becomes available.


  • Parks and Recreation Commission discusses the Draft Dock Plan

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    01 Mar 2021
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    On March 4, the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Commission will take up the Luther Burbank Docks Draft Preferred Concept Plan developed by its three-member subcommittee. This draft plan includes schematic design of the new docks, proposed improvements to the cobble beach to the north of the docks, and proposed renovation of the plaza between the docks and the Boiler Building. The subcommittee considered environmental quality, intensity of use, congruence with the Luther Burbank Master Plan and the unique character of the site in developing this initial product. At the March 4 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission will review this product and provide the subcommittee input towards finalizing the plan.

    In January 2021, the Commission appointed three members to form the Luther Burbank Docks Subcommittee. Commissioner Peter Struck was appointed as chair, with Commissioners Lyn Gualtieri and Rory Westberg as members. They have worked diligently at three meetings over the course of four weeks to develop this draft work product. Those interested in the project will want to take a look at the Draft Preferred Concept Plan and the Elements of the Draft Concept Plan documents, also available on the meetings webpage. An analysis of the preferred concept plan in comparison to the initial concept alternatives is also available. Comment on these products can be offered to the Commission by participating in the Publlic Appearances portion of the meeting agenda, by emailing paul.west@mercerisland.gov, or by leaving a comment on this project page.

  • Luther Burbank Docks Subcommittee

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    22 Jan 2021
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    Parks and Recreation Commission Subcommittee to Develop Draft Concept Plan

    At its January 7, 2021 meeting, the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Commission agreed to form a subcommittee to develop a draft concept plan for the Luther Burbank Dock Reconfiguration project. The committee will consist of three commissioners who will work with the City's design team to develop this product. The subcommittee will present draft products to the full commission for review. Once the commission approves a concept plan, it will be forwarded to City Council for consideration.

    Commissioner Peter Struck will chair the subcommittee and will be joined by Commissioners Rory Westberg and Lyn Gualtieri. Four meetings are currently scheduled to complete this work. The full Parks & Recreation Commission is expected to review draft products at its March and April regular meetings.

    See the Key Dates calendar on the right side of this page for scheduled meetings. Each meeting will be open to the public to observe and will be recorded and saved on the City Council's YouTube channel. The public can comment on any part of this process by posting on this project page.

    Zoom links and phone access for each subcommittee meeting can be found on the City of Mercer Island Meetings Calendar and under Key Dates for each meeting on the menu to the right.

    UPDATE: Watch the January 27 Subcommittee Meeting #1

  • Luther Burbank Docks - Open House Results Available

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    19 Oct 2020
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    Thanks to all who attended the Luther Burbank Docks Open House, either in-person or virtually. We received 131 survey responses. In addition, many people learned about the project for the first time or got a better sense of what the project encompasses.

    A summary of the Open House with survey results is posted in the Document Library. The next step is for the Parks and Recreation Commission to consider these results and other information to develop a preferred alternative. The next meeting is tentatively planned for November 5.

  • Luther Burbank Docks - Open House Sept 2 - Oct 7

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    OPEN HOUSE EXTENDED THROUGH OCTOBER 7.

    The City of Mercer Island is hosting a self-guided, socially-distanced open house at the waterfront in Luther Burbank Park starting Sept. 2 and running through October 7. Boaters and other waterfront users are invited to visit the park (following appropriate COVID-19 measures) and view an outdoor display of project alternatives presented on six posters. See the new concepts for the docks, shoreline and related facilities at the waterfront. After visiting the area, participants can fill out an online questionnaire or take home a paper copy to return to the city.

    If you can't make it to the park, all the same information is available here on this webpage. The following links will download the posters that are displayed at the site.

    If you need some background, start with the introductory posters. This page also has videos and other background materials that may be helpful.

    The concept alternative posters are each a collection of ideas. They are meant to illustrate a range of options for various components of the docks and waterfront.

    Alternative 1
    Alternative 2
    Alternative 3

    A table comparing the Alternatives to the existing facility is available as a "cheat sheet". Pick the ideas that you like best or come up with your own. Then take the online survey or download a paper survey which you can mail in or drop off at the drop box in the Mercer Island City Hall parking lot.

    For more information, or to arrange a socially-distanced tour of the docks with the project manager, contact Paul West at paul.west@mercergov.org or (206) 275-7833.

  • Luther Burbank Docks - Design Charrette Results Available

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    12 Aug 2020
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    Video, slides, notes, chat and polling from the Luther Burbank Park docks design charrette (held Aug 6) are now available here on Let's Talk. These become part of the meeting record and feed into the design alternatives that the design team will be developing over the next few weeks.

    A link to the video, as well as the summary/notes, chat, polling and powerpoint slides are available in the right-hand column of this page in the Document Library. The meeting video and minutes are also posted to the City's Parks & Rec webpage.

  • Luther Burbank Docks - Design Charrette Set for August 6

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    15 Jul 2020
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    The City of Mercer Island invites boaters and other waterfront users to observe and participate in a virtual design charrette for the Luther Burbank Park docks on Thursday August 6 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, using teleconferencing technology provided by Zoom. This workshop will discuss how the docks will be rebuilt in a new configuration, with an emphasis on serving small power, sail, and paddle craft. It will also explore ways to make the waterfront more accessible and attractive.

    Luther Burbank Park is a very popular waterfront park especially during boating season. The docks at Luther Burbank Park are 46 years old and in need of major repairs. Instead of maintaining the current dock configuration, this project takes direction from the Luther Burbank Park Master Plan, which envisions a lively waterfront activity center focused on small boats. The plan calls for retaining/repairing one pier while replacing the other piers with lower floating docks for better boating access. Creating an accessible waterfront and shoreline for all users is part of the plan. The charrette is an extended interactive workshop that will explore the details of these features. Results from the charrette will be presented to the public for comment in late August.

    This work is funded by the City of Mercer Island and a Boating Facilities Program Grant from Washington State. For questions, contact Paul West at 206.275.7833 or email paul.west@mercergov.org.


    A Note About Registering to Speak: Individuals wishing to speak live during the public input portions of the design charrette are asked to notify Paul West at 206.275.7833 or email paul.west@mercergov.org and leave a message before 4 pm on the day of the workshop. Please reference "Luther Burbank Dock" in your correspondence. The moderator will call on you by name or telephone number when it is your turn to speak.

    Join by Telephone at 5:00 pm: To listen to the meeting or speak live during public input via telephone, please call 253.215.8782 and enter Webinar ID 980 9512 6334 and Password 020977 when prompted. The moderator will call on you by name or the telephone number you provide when registering to speak. Please note, the phone number you provide must match the number you call in on. For meeting security, unrecognized numbers will not be granted access.

    Join by Internet at 5:00 pm: To watch the meeting over the internet or speak live during public input, via your computer microphone, follow these steps:

    1) Click this link
    2) If the Zoom app is not installed on your computer, you will be prompted to download it.
    3) If prompted for Webinar ID, enter 980 9512 6334) Enter Password 020977
    4) The moderator will call on you by name or refer to your email address when it is your turn to speak. Please confirm that your audio works prior to participating.

    Submitting Written Comments: Written comments may be submitted at the Mercer Island Lets Talk Luther Burbank Dock page. Written comments received by 4:00 pm on August 6, 2020, will be read or summarized at the design charrette and become part of the project record on the Let’s Talk site.

    For the safety and well being of the public and staff, the City strongly recommends that people attend the meeting by viewing the live feed using Zoom and join by Internet or phone using the link provided above.

    In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, those requiring accommodation for Council meetings should notify the City Clerk’s Office at least 24 hours prior to the meeting at 206.275.7793.

  • City Applies for Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant

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    07 Jul 2020
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    The City of Mercer Island has applied for federal grant funding through the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program to renovate the northern pier at the Luther Burbank Park waterfront. The 46 year old pier needs major structural repairs to remain functional. The project would also add moorage features to improve access for boaters.

    The grant program is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service which evaluates the applications on a nationwide basis. If a grant is awarded, it would fund 75% of the design and construction costs. The renovation would likely take place in 2023 or 2024 because of long lead times for permits and coordination with other phases of the overall dock project.

    This project has support from Friends of Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island Community Fund, Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and the Recreational Boating Association of Washington.

  • KPFF Inc. Selected to Design New Docks at Luther Burbank Park

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    20 May 2020
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    The City of Mercer Island has selected KPFF Inc. to lead the design work for Luther Burbank Park docks. KPFF was one of three firms interviewed. Their long-standing experience in marine facilities and stellar team made their proposal successful. Andy Bennett, PE will be the Principal in charge of the project. Relevant project experience includes work on Meydenbauer Marina, Portage Bay Park, and the Arboretum Waterfront Trail. Work is expected to get underway in June 2020 with site inspection. Look for opportunities to give your opinion on choices for the project later in the summer.

  • WA Boating Facilities Grant Awarded

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    07 Aug 2019
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    The City was awarded a $173,000 grant from Washington State's Boating Facilities Program to support a new floating dock to replace some of the fixed piers that currently exist. This will make the dock more usable for small boats and reduce the impact it has on lake habitat. Since the dock needs major repairs, this is a good time to look at this opportunity for needed improvements.

    The dock was built in 1974 also with a Boating Facilities Program grant. That program and others can be used to fund the improvements that come out of this process. Park users will have a chance to give their suggestions as the process gets underway, so stay tuned.

    For more information, contact Paul West at 206-275-7833 or paul.west@mercergov.org.