Auburn’s new park along the river

City receives $500,000 state grant to build a 14.73-acre community park at 104th Avenue Southeast along the Green River

The city of Auburn has received a $500,000 state grant to build a 14.73-acre community park at 104th Avenue Southeast along the Green River.

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board on Wednesday announced the award of more than $126 million in grants to a suite of 333 projects that build and maintain outdoor recreation facilities and conserve wildlife habitat and working farms and forests around the state.

King County projects were awarded $13.4 million, Auburn being among them.

Auburn will contribute $626,251 in a grant from the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and park impact fees. Proposed development cost is $1,126,251, according to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.

The city proposes to develop the Green River site into a community park to expand and create safe public access to the river for water-based recreation activities. Plans for the new community park include a 34-stall parking lot, improved access to the river, a .68-mile soft-surface trail looping through the site and added park amenities, such as a picnic shelter, interpretive kiosk, signs, drinking fountain and restroom.

The city also will remove invasive plants and replant native species. The land is a mix of forest and invasive species, and river access is by an unimproved path. The only parking is along a narrow shoulder on a curved road. On any given sunny day, there are dozens of cars parked precariously along the road, which people use to get to the river and its sandy beach.

Development of the park also will help alleviate the unauthorized activities at the site that harm the environment and the surrounding communities.

The 2015 Auburn Parks & Recreation Open Space Plan identified the site as a top priority for development. The city acquired the proposed future park site from Washington State Parks (seven-plus acres) and King County (7-plus acres). The property, at 31495 104th Ave. SE, is required to be protected as a parkland in perpetuity.