Photos by Eric Mathison
The reopening date for Seahurst Park has been changed in a sign near the park.

Seahurst Park won’t reopen until mid-July

By Eric Mathison

Burien’s largest park will not reopen until mid-summer.

Seahurst Park, closed Oct. 28 and expected to open May 17, is now set to welcome visitors again on July 11.

The park was closed so construction crews could remove the north seawall and restore the north beach to the natural conditions that existed prior to 1972. The south beach was previously restored to its natural condition.

The eight-week delay was due to unforeseen conditions related to cultural resources and utility locations.

The Burien City Council also is set to approve on its April 7 consent agenda a $450,000 increase in the budget. The 16 percent increase will change the original budget from $7.7 million to $8.15 million.

However, the $400,000 needed because of the construction delays will be funded through state grants and not Burien’s budget, Steve Roemer, Parks development and operations manager, told lawmakers March 17.

Council members did agree to add $50,000 from Burien’s capital reserve funds to provide concrete work originally planned as a future project.

The concrete will be added in the children’s playground and restrooms area next to the lower parking lot.

“It seemed to make sense to do the work now,” Roemer said. “The contractor is already there, they want to do it and they gave us a fair price,” Roemer said.

If the concrete work was completed as a separate project later, it would require a new permit process, design work, disruption of park use again and additional contractor expenses, according to Parks staff. Doing it as part of the current project will save an estimated 50 percent of construction costs plus eliminate an additional park disruption.

Councilmember Nancy Tosta asked why the area needs concrete while the nearby parking lot will have a permeable surface. Roemer replied that the area will be heavily used with utility trucks driving over it.

Roemer reported the construction project hit “a couple of challenges” that caused the delays.

An underground midden used by Native American tribes who previously lived on the site was discovered. The cultural resource contained discarded shells and other debris.

“It happened to be a pretty good size and it definitely impacted the project,” Roemer said.

Another glitch occurred when utility lines were not found where project planners were told they would be.

Roemer reminded council members Seahurst Park had been in unincorporated King County before it was incorporated into Burien.

He said utility staffers “gave their best shot” at where the utilities lines were located so are probably not liable for the misinformation.

The glitches meant significant redesign work and added coordination with tribes and utility officials, Roemer noted.

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