A lot of waves have washed in since the public has been able to enjoy the shoreline at Juanita Beach Park -- 14 months and one contractor have come and gone -- but kids will be splashing there again on Friday.
Undergoing a $1.18 million modernization since May of 2010, the beach area of the park -- a popular recreation spot for more than 80 years -- will partially re-open with a celebration Friday at 3 p.m.
“I feel excitement mixed with relief,” said Micahel Cogle, interim deputy director of the Kirkland Parks and Community Services Department. "We’re not done, but at least folks will have access to the beach.
"I know folks in the neighborhood are looking forward to seeing at least part of the park open."
In early June, the city of Kirkland fired the original contractor, DMSL Construction of Arlington, for failing to complete the modernization of the park's beach area by June 1 as required in its contract. See a story about that here.
DMSL began work in May 2010 and expected to finish the job in 10 to 12 months. However, unusually wet weather for months after the work began hindered progress, and earlier this spring DMSL officials acknowledged difficulties as well due to the weak economy and poor loan market.
Marshbank Construction of Lake Stevens was hired in late June to finish the project, and has been busy at the work ever since.
The modernization of the 30-acre park is completely renovating its beach area south of Juanita Drive, with a new wetlands area and trail, extensive landscaping, a natural amphitheater and plaza and a shoreline promenade.
The beach area will reopen Friday, although extensive areas of newly seeded lawn will be fenced off. Work will continue on the wetlands area, along with restoration of the lower part of Juanita Creek on the southwest side of the park, through September.
The upland portion of the park, north of Juanita Drive, has remained open and has been hosting the all summer, 3-7 p.m.
The public is invited to the celebration and a tour Friday. The Kirkland Park Board and city council members will be on hand. Kirkland Parks gave Patch a sneak preview Thursday morning - check out our photo gallery.