In the works for more than 30 years, Bellevue’s newest waterfront park is open.
The city of Bellevue held a Grand Opening event for the recently completed Meydenbauer Bay Park on March 16.
The park features terraces for pedestrian walkways, an expanded swimming beach, picnic areas, a children’s play area, a beach house and restrooms, and a 400-foot curved pier extending into the bay.
Hundreds of Bellevue residents came to the park to experience the views and check out the new features. Patrick Foran, director of Parks and Community Services, led the grand opening event with a speech recounting the history of the project and the work that was put in to make the renovation a reality.
Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak thanked everyone for the the time and effort put into the project and highlighted the connection between downtown and the bay.
“We are now connecting what I think is the most beautiful downtown in the state of Washington to one of the most beautiful bays on the lake that bears the state of Washington’s name, and it will be here for all of us to enjoy for many, many decades to come,” he said.
Meydenbauer Bay Park, located near Lake Washington Boulevard Northeast and 99th Avenue Southeast, has been a feature of the city of Bellevue long before its incorporation in 1953. At a city council meeting in February, planning manager Glenn Kost walked the council through a timeline of the park beginning all the way back in 1930, when the bay-side area was a swimming beach and park. In 1953, it became the city’s first park, Kost said.
In 1987, the city adopted a major waterfront park concept. To create that waterfront park, the city began acquiring property in 1992 and, according to Kost’s memo to the council, spent the next 15 years acquiring more property along the bay.
In 2010, the city council adopted a master plan and land use plan for the project. Seven years later the construction contract was awarded for phase one and was completed at the end of January 2019. Phase 2 planning was approved in the 2018 budget, Kost said, so staff will begin work on planning and design of phase 2 in the next year or two.
The park will be open from dawn to 11 p.m., Kost said, and the park will be lit with a series of lights along the pier and throughout the park after sundown.