Kirkland's Juanita Beach Park re-opens after delays, contractor issues

For mother-of-two Houa Cha, frequenting Juanita Beach Park gave her time to relax on the beach while her little ones splashed in Lake Washington.

Until the beach closed "all of a sudden" in May 2010.

"I always wondered what happened to the park," said Cha as her son, Terrance and daughter, Rainey once again played at the park that partially re-opened Aug. 5 after some renovation delays. "So it's very exciting because the park has been gone for so long."

During a city-hosted re-opening celebration at Juanita Beach Park Aug. 5, other local residents also expressed their delight at having the popular waterfront park back.

"This is incredible. It's nice to see all the progress that has been made and to have the park back," said Kirkland resident Charles Sota, who visited the park several times a week before it closed with his daughter, Polina and wife, Eileen.

"It's a great motivating force to walk down here," Sota added. Eileen said after the park closed last year, she drove by the site and saw that work "wasn't getting finished. I thought, 'What's going on?' I'm glad to see the city got it done."

Michael Cogle, interim deputy director for the City of Kirkland's Department of Parks and Community Services, said the city worked "really hard to get the park partially opened for what's left of our summer."

The city hired Lake Stevens-based Marshbank Construction, Inc. in June to complete the first phase of the $2.8 million renovation project.

Earlier in June, work at the park abruptly halted when the city terminated its contract with DMSL Construction, Inc. for failure to complete the project on time.

The park's re-opening date was also effected by weather-related setbacks and DMSL's financial issues.

During the event, city dignitaries unveiled a "Park Now Open" banner amidst cheers and honks from passing cars.

Cogle also thanked Marshbank Construction, which completed significant improvements to the park, including new walking paths, extensive landscaping, benches and picnic tables.

But the work wasn't easy, said Marshbank Construction co-owner Dave Marshbank.

"It was rough," he said of the park when his company took over renovation work. "It should have taken us three months to do all this, but we just figured out a way to get it done."

Bob Lovins of Lovins Landscaping added that his company had to redo much of the landscaping work that the previous contractors did.

"Welcome to the park and stay off my grass," Cogle joked during the re-opening event, noting that some of the newly-seeded lawn areas in the park will be protected to allow complete establishment.

Additional construction activity in the park will occur through September, including restoration of Juanita Creek located on the western side of the park.

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