The City of Bellevue broke ground last week on the long-awaited Meydenbauer Bay Park, which will improve the connection between Bellevue's bustling downtown and its scenic Lake Washington waterfront.
With a quarter mile of waterfront, the 10-acre park considerably expands the current Meydenbauer Bay Beach Park. A large public swimming beach, pedestrian pier, historic whaling building and new beach house will make the park a destination for residents and visitors.
"We are one step closer to fulfilling a 30-year council vision," said Mayor John Stokes. "This project is a testament to the patience and tenacity of city leaders who wouldn't give up on their dream of increasing waterfront access and connections to the heart of our city."
In 1987, Bellevue officials made acquisition of Meydenbauer Bay waterfront a major focus of the city's Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan. Between 1992 and 2007, the city acquired 12 properties along the bay to add to the land that King County transferred to Bellevue when the city was incorporated in 1953. The city purchased the Bellevue Marina in 1992.
In 2007, the City Council appointed a 13-member steering committee representing various neighborhoods and citywide interests to engage with staff and the public through the long-range planning process. A master plan was adopted in 2010.
Key elements of the project include:
- Relocation and expansion of the public swimming beach;
- Construction of a new beach house with restrooms and showers;
- A curvilinear pedestrian pier and hand-carry boat launch;
- Pedestrian, pathways and picnic areas;
- Remodeling the historic Whaling Building to include accessible restrooms, a small meeting room and boat rentals.
- Shoreline restoration to improve ecological functions; and
- Parking and overlooks.
Meydenbauer Bay, the site of a small village in the early 1900s, has a rich history. From 1914 to 1952, the inlet was the off-season home to a whaling fleet that plied Puget Sound.
The new park responds to the community's long-held interest in additional public water access. Despite Bellevue's 14 miles of shoreline along Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, total shoreline in public ownership is limited to approximately 1.6 miles, or 12 percent, with the majority along Lake Washington.
IMCO General Construction will work primarily west and northwest of 99th Avenue Northeast to connect with and expand the existing park between Lake Washington Boulevard and the Meydenbauer Bay shoreline. Meydenbauer Beach Park will be closed during the project, and the Bellevue Marina will remain open.
Construction is expected to be completed in late fall 2018.
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