For decades, it’s been a gathering place for river bums and other denizens of the Green River , but a sometime nightmare for people nearby who contend with the noise and problems one could associate with a place informally called Beer Bottle Beach.
If all goes to plan, construction of a new park that enfolds the locale a quarter-mile north of Porter’s Bridge would start in the summer of 2019.
By “goes to plan,” understand, it’ll happen if and when the City is successful in its application for grant funds to build the 14-acre park on 104th Avenue.
The City’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department estimates construction will cost about $1.7 million.
Jamie Kelly, Parks, Planning and Development manager for the City of Auburn, said master planning for the park has been underway for some time and the grants will be submitted early in 2018.
Kelly named three funding sources the City can try as far as grants are concerned, all of them through the state of Washington’s Recreation, Conservation, and Salmon Grant programs: one for water access; another for local parks; and the last for land, water and conservation funds, the latter typically to fund park features like playgrounds and picnic shelters.
“Each (grant) has a maximum ask of $500,000, and you can leverage one against the other,” Kelly said. “There is some risk involved in that, if we don’t get one of them, and we are expecting to use the other for the match. But the City match for that will be park impact fees, so that minimizes the risk in leveraging those different grant programs against each other.”
The site, bounded by the Green River to the north and 104th Avenue Southeast to the east, is thick with trees and plants. To get there today, one must pass from 104th Avenue Southeast through a fence or via 102nd Avenue South. People who park their vehicles on the west side of 104th Avenue Southeast to get to the beach pose a safety concern to motorists making their way past the throng of trucks and cars along the road.
Plans call for 20 to 30 parking stalls to serve the park.
“Getting traffic into the park itself will help that tremendously,” Kelly said.
King County transferred the western parcel to the City through an intergovernmental land transfer agreement almost 10 years ago, and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission later transferred the eastern portion.