The city of Bellevue began the $17.5 million reconstruction of Meydenbauer Bay Park on May 1, 2017. The project seeks to expand the existing waterfront park and connect it with the city’s historic marina and a whaling building, once the winter port for a Puget Sound whaling fleet. When the project is completed in fall 2018, the park will feature a swimming beach, a curved pier extending into the lake, small boat rentals from the whaling building, and a hilltop overlook with views of Seattle. Ultimately, the park will connect with the Downtown Park next to Bellevue Square and when the Bellevue Grand Connection is completed, Bellevue’s waterfront will connect with the Eastside Rail Corridor across I-405 via a bike path and walkway.
According to Christina Faine, public information officer for the Parks & Community Services for the City of Bellevue, “The Meydenbauer Bay Park project is being funded by the city’s Capital Investment Program together with $4 million in grants from the State of Washington. The costs are consistent with budget projections. This is a complicated 18-month long project.”
During the renovation, Meydenbauer Beach Park will be closed. The contractor, IMCO General Construction, will work primarily west and northwest of 99th Avenue NE to connect with and expand the existing park between Lake Washington Boulevard and the Meydenbauer Bay shoreline. Some homes on 99th Avenue NE, which the city purchased between 1992 and 2007, will be demolished to allow park expansion. During construction, the Bellevue Marina will remain open.
The new park will include the relocation and expansion of the public swimming beach, the construction of a new beach house with restrooms, and showers as well as the creation of a curved pedestrian pier and hand-carry boat launch. Also, the lower portions of the existing park will be changed into a natural ravine. The park will also feature walking paths, picnic areas, a pedestrian promenade and a children’s play area.
Not only is the park being changed, but the parking and signage will be as well. Lake Washington Boulevard right-of-way improvements are being made, including undergrounding of overhead power lines and 99th Street parking lot and marina entrance improvements.
“We are one step closer to fulfilling a 30-year council vision,” said Mayor John Stokes in a news release. “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.” Bellevue Parks Director Patrick Foran echoed this sentiment, noting that the succession of city councils since 1987 has remained true to the promise of expanding the city’s public waterfront and creating the Grand Connection in Bellevue.
The larger park that is more pedestrian and bicycle friendly will be a welcome addition to a city that has doubled in population during the past seven years. This park will be within walking distance of downtown Bellevue.
“People are going to be surprised at how close this is,” said Glenn Kost, planning and development manager for Bellevue Parks. When the park is completed, “it’s going to be full of people. This will be spectacular,” he said.