Should Lake Burien Get A Public Park? City Says "No" 1
by Jack Mayne

A small group of residents are continuing their efforts to have the city of Burien purchase for a public park a recently rezoned portion of the Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center property on Lake Burien.

The area was rezoned last December, so the Dykeman Center can sell it to improve its revenue structure during the current economic downturn. When approached by the group calling itself the Committee to Free Lake Burien, Dykeman’s CEO said the center would not sell the land for a park.

Lake Burien is well known to long-term residents of the city but newer residents are likely to ask, “There is a lake in Burien?” That is because the lake is completely surrounded by private homes with no public access to it.Should Lake Burien Get A Public Park? City Says "No" 2

Under federal law, all lake shores the size of Lake Burien are considered public, but the sticking point is getting to the lake across private property.

The rezoned land, apparently for sale at some time in the future, would not include public access to the lake, which is vehemently opposed by owners of the property surrounding Lake Burien,

A flier by area resident Lee Moyer says the property should be purchased as a lake front park.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the City of Burien to gain a park on Lake Burien for the benefit of all the citizens of Burien,” said Moyer. “It will add to the value of the residences in the area, the Town Center and the businesses in Olde Burien. It is a difficult time financially, but with dedicated money available and a depressed real estate market, it is also a bargain for the City of Burien.”

He suggests that there may be money available from King County park bond funds and possibly other sources, despite the financial crisis.

Emelie McNett lives in a blue-collar area of North Burien and has been a resident of Burien for 35 years, native plant steward, watershed steward, former Burien Park Board member and current member of the Shoreline Advisory Committee.

“I am particularly interested using the rezoned Ruth Dykeman property as a Burien Park” she says. “Many low income Burien residents live less than a mile from the water but are denied access because of the barrier of private property. A pocket park on Lake Burien would help mitigate this lack of access.”

The city just is not interested at all.

“We are not interested,” said City Manager Mike Martin. “We have not discussed it. We have no money.”

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[Sunrise & Rainbow Photos courtesy Gregory Rehmke]