Luther Burbank Docks and Adjacent Waterfront Renovation and Upgrade

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The City's Public Works Department is planning to renovate the waterfront at Luther Burbank Park. Built in 1974, the docks and adjacent waterfront need major repairs to continue to provide the public with shoreline recreation. In particular, 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 completing a design to:

  • Replace the south piers with floating docks for small (26' or less) power boats and non-motorized craft
  • Renovate the north pier
  • Expand the cobble beach and provide an accessible route to the ordinary high water level
  • Renovate the plaza with permeable paving, landscaping, furnishings and art
  • Install overwater stairs next to the Handsome Bollards to provide seating and contact with the lake
  • Stabilize the Boiler Building for continued boat storage and future reuse as a small craft boating facility
  • Renovate the restrooms and concession stand for boating programs
  • Construct a deck and railing on top of the restroom annex to provide space for classes and passive enjoyment of the lake setting
  • Improve drainage across the site while minimizing impacts to the nearshore lake environment
  • Install a lake water intake and irrigation pump to irrigate the swim beach and Calkins Point

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.

This project has received (so far) funding from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and King County Flood Control District. Washington State Department of Natural Resources leases the shorelands at no cost for public access to the waters of the State.

The City's Public Works Department is planning to renovate the waterfront at Luther Burbank Park. Built in 1974, the docks and adjacent waterfront need major repairs to continue to provide the public with shoreline recreation. In particular, 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 completing a design to:

  • Replace the south piers with floating docks for small (26' or less) power boats and non-motorized craft
  • Renovate the north pier
  • Expand the cobble beach and provide an accessible route to the ordinary high water level
  • Renovate the plaza with permeable paving, landscaping, furnishings and art
  • Install overwater stairs next to the Handsome Bollards to provide seating and contact with the lake
  • Stabilize the Boiler Building for continued boat storage and future reuse as a small craft boating facility
  • Renovate the restrooms and concession stand for boating programs
  • Construct a deck and railing on top of the restroom annex to provide space for classes and passive enjoyment of the lake setting
  • Improve drainage across the site while minimizing impacts to the nearshore lake environment
  • Install a lake water intake and irrigation pump to irrigate the swim beach and Calkins Point

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.

This project has received (so far) funding from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board, The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and King County Flood Control District. Washington State Department of Natural Resources leases the shorelands at no cost for public access to the waters of the State.

  • Luther Burbank Waterfront Ranks Well for Funding

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    The City's applications to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) and Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) both received rankings that put them in position to be funded by the Washington State legislature. The WWRP application ranked second out of four in the Water Access category and the ALEA application ranked seventh out of ten. Together, these two grants would provide two million dollars for waterfront improvements.

    The next step is for the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board to recommend the project listings to the governor at its October 25 meeting. If that goes as planned, then the projects may be included in the Governor's proposed 2023-2024 budget in December. The legislature passes the budget in April/May 2023, and if all goes well the funding becomes available in July 2023.

  • City Applies for Waterfront Improvement Grants

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    The City has successfully applied to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) for major grants to support improvements for the Luther Burbank Park waterfront. The grants from the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) and Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) would total $2 million if awarded. An additional $454,000 in grant funding will be sought this fall from the King County Flood Control District as match. The total estimate for this project scope is $3.2 million. This package is the cornerstone of the comprehensive waterfront improvements which include powerboat docks and the stabilization of the Boiler Building.

    The project elements covered under these grants include:

    • Site access paths and ramps
    • An expanded cobble beach
    • A non-motorized boating dock with a low freeboard float
    • Overwater stairs
    • Renovated restrooms
    • A viewing deck/outdoor classroom
    • Drainage and low-impact development
    • Furnishings, signs, lighting and landscaping

    These grant projects received support letters from the following organizations and individuals. Many thanks for the great show of support:

    • Friends of Luther Burbank Park
    • Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce
    • Mercer Island Community Fund
    • Mercer Island Historical Society
    • Washington Water Trails Association
    • Recreational Boating Association of Washington
    • Washington Kayak Club
    • Seattle Sea Kayaking Club
    • Seattle Adventure Sports
    • parent of paddle camp participant
    • parent of paddle camp participant
    • Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

    The applications have been a multi-step process that began in February 2022. The applications will undergo review at the end of August. A preliminary project ranking will be made public by the end of September. City Council will consider the project budget during its review of the Capital Improvement Program budget in October.

  • Docks Get Minor Repairs

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    The Luther Burbank Park docks have been repaired so they can continue to be a destination for waterfront visitors. Wood blocking was added to the most compromised pilings and bracing was repaired. This will extend the life of the docks another three seasons. In 2024, the two southern arms will be replaced by floating docks as part of a comprehensive waterfront renovation. Waterfront Construction's dive team completed the repairs in April.

  • 30 Percent Design is Accepted by City Council

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    On March 1, Mercer Island City Council accepted the Parks and Recreation Commission's recommended 30% design. In addition, it authorized staff's recommendation to combine the docks and waterfront project with the Boiler Building stabilization project for efficient design and construction of both projects. The Boiler Building, restroom and concession stand renovation and the outdoor classroom will be constructed as Phase 1 in 2023, while the docks and other waterfront improvements will be constructed as Phase 2 in 2024. The total cost for both projects is expected to be $6.8 million. Council has authorized a budget of $991,000 to complete the design of both phases. The City will immediately begin applying for the grants identified for these projects and advance the design to meet the project timeline.

  • 30 Percent Design Goes to City Council

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    At the March 1 meeting, Mercer Island City Council will consider the Parks and Recreation Commission's recommendation on the Luther Burbank Park Docks and Adjacent Waterfront 30% design. This recommendation includes all the recommendations of the Docks Subcommittee with a new recommendation for additional study of the overwater stairs to address safety and accessibility concerns. The City Council will consider how to fund the remaining design of the project and whether to coordinate this project with the stabilization of the adjacent Boiler Building which is planned on a similar timeline.

  • Parks and Rec Commission to Consider 30% Design

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    At its January 6 meeting, the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Commission will consider the 30% Design of the Luther Burbank Docks and Adjacent Waterfront. The design provides numerous new details about what might be built at the park. The new floating docks have been moved further offshore, the overwater stairs now include a platform landing, and over half the plaza will be covered with permeable pavers. See these details and others in the 30% plan set.

    The design is a comprehensive renovation of a fifty year old facility. It is the based on the Concept Design approved by City Council in May 2021. The design team presented a preliminary design to the Luther Burbank Docks Subcommittee in October 2021 and the subcommittee revised the plan over the course of three meetings. The design team also met with the Arts Council and permit agencies to discuss details of particular concern to those entities. A preliminary probable cost estimate puts the total project cost at $4.05 million. It is estimated that about half of that will come from grants and other sources.

    The meeting starts at 5:30pm. All are welcome to provide up to 3 minutes of comment on this project to the Parks and Recreation Commission in the Appearances portion of the meeting. Pre-registration for Appearances is required prior to the meeting. Please send an email to merrill.schadt@mercergov.org before 4pm on the day of the meeting if you wish to speak.

  • Luther Burbank Dock Subcommittee Reconvenes - UPDATED

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    At its September 9 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission reappointed a subcommittee to take up the review of the draft 30% design developed by KPFF, Inc, the consultant for the City. The subcommittee met on September 16 and received an overview of the design from the consultant. It will continue its review at the next subcommittee meeting on October 28 from 10 am to 12pm. Anyone interested may view or listen to the meeting via Zoom conferencing technology.

  • City Receives BIG Grant for Luther Burbank Dock Renovation

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    The City of Mercer Island has been awarded a federal Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) to renovate the north pier at the Luther Burbank dock. The $379k grant is for both design and construction and covers 75% of the project costs. The City will contribute the remaining 25% match. This federal grant program is administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) to develop and renovate boating facilities targeting guest recreational boats 26 feet and larger. The grant application was supported by Friends of Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island Community Fund, Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and the Recreational Boating Association of Washington. Construction will be coordinated with other elements of the overall project such as the new floating dock and shoreline access improvements. Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.

  • Luther Burbank Dock Design Moves Forward

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    On May 18, Mercer Island City Council approved the recommended Concept Design for the Luther Burbank Dock and Adjacent Waterfront. City Council also appropriated the funding to move the design forward to the 30% stage, which will provide decision-makers cost and permitting analysis. The design includes an expanded beach area and bulkhead steps for improved shoreline access, and waterfront plaza renovations to address aging facilities there. The 30% design will be completed this summer and fall. The Parks and Recreation Commission will review preliminary design products before making its recommendations to City Council on how to proceed.

  • Parks and Recreation Commission Approves Concept Design

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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.


Page last updated: 27 Oct 2022, 01:12 PM