Neighbors fight to get longtime public beach back

by: Joanna Small Updated:

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Since 1932, hundreds of people could enjoy a public beach off Northeast 130th Street in Lake City. But now they do it from afar after no-trespassing signs went up Monday.
 
"It was just shock and anger from everybody I saw going along here,” said Sue Pope, who spoke with KIRO 7 from the trail that runs along the water. 

Although Pope and her husband, Dave, said the original property owners were happy to have the beach for community use, the two property owners now on either side of it won a lawsuit against the city to make the beach private. That happened in 2013 but the Popes, who fought hard to keep the beach for everybody, say the signs make it official.
 
"They’ll probably put up a fence and say it's a liability for people to use it, whatever they can think of,” Pope explained.
 
The beach in question really isn't much of a beach at all; it’s only about 30 feet across, but for neighbors who don't live right on the water it's their only access to the water. It is near the Burke Gilman Trail.
 
"It's the only place you can get your feet wet, the only place where you can put in a kayak or an inner tube or the dogs come and swim here,” Pope said.
 
The Popes have new hope the fight isn't over; they have a Facebook page that's nearly 300 members strong. Wednesday they posted a letter from Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, who says he's looking into using eminent domain to turn the beach into a public park.
 
We wanted to ask one of the beach's new owners if that's a concern, but he refused to talk to KIRO 7. The Popes say they won't stop talking until they get their beach back.
 
"It's our responsibility, each of us, and once it's gone, it's gone,” Dave Pope said.

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