Restoration of Seahurst Park north beach begins next month

Park to be closed until May

The largest shoreline restoration project in the Puget Sound area will begin next month at Burien’s Seahurst Park.

“This is the most important thing that has happened in my 12 years on the council,” Burien City Councilmember Joan McGilton declared at the Aug. 5 council meeting. “This has national significance.”

Seahurst Park will close in late September and when it reopens in May, the north seawall will be gone and the adjacent beach restored to natural conditions.

A narrower pathway will still extend along the north beach to the science center and marine technical laboratory.

The north beach will begin to look like the park’s restored south end. The seawall was built in 1972.

Parks development and operations manager Steve Roemer told lawmakers the beach will become more friendly for marine habitat while the park’s recreational features for residents will be preserved.

“We are trying to get our shoreline back,” Roemer explained.

The joint project between the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will restore 2,800 feet of marine shoreline, re-nourish 25,000 tons of gravel and sand and add 17,000 riparian plants.

Parking in the lower park will be moved slightly to the southeast with the play area moving to the former parking area. Roemer said the new lower lot will contain space for two additional vehicles. The city hopes to add more street parking between the lower and upper lots in the future, according to Roemer.

The city is soliciting bids for the project and is expected to award the contract on Sept. 4. Construction is scheduled to begin Sept. 23 with construction complete by May.

“It will be a fairly quick project,” Roemer added.

During the closure, the main park gate will be locked. The upper parking lot will be used as the staging area for construction equipment.

Marine laboratory and Environmental Science Center staff will use the north service road.

Students going to classes at the marine lab will be escorted through the construction site.

Walkers will be still be able to use the north trails but will be blocked from the shoreline.

Roemer noted there would be some nighttime work during low tide periods. He said the city will contact Hurstwood residents about the construction just below their homes.

The council approved the $7.4 million project back in 2009 and has been seeking funding during the economic downturn.

The Army Corps, state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and King Conservation District are among the funding partners.

The Corps will pay $3.9 million while $355,000 will come from Burien’s capital funds.

Councilmember McGilton drew applause for her efforts on the project.

Mayor Brian Bennett said McGilton “pursued the project with tenacity.”

Roemer noted McGilton advised him on whom to talk to keep the project going.

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