• Lake City beach now open to public after 6-year-battle, $800,000 payout from city

    By: John Knicely

    Updated:

    You have a new public access point on Lake Washington following a land battle that lasted more than six years in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood.

    In the end, the city of Seattle paid out $800,000 split between two property owners, and now the beach is open to the public. 

    On Tuesday, Nina Hyak went to see the new public beach off NE 130th Street. It's right off the Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle's Lake City neighborhood.

    “I'm excited about it,” Hyak said as she discussed plans to bring her dog there this summer. “Bella loves the water, she loves to swim. I think she's going to enjoy this. I think we're all going to enjoy this, it's really nice. This way we don't have to go all the way down to Magnuson.”

    In 2013, the two neighboring property owners discovered the land wasn't actually owned by the city and fenced it off.

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    In June 2015, KIRO 7 talked to one of those property owners, Keith Holmquist, who said it was a magnet for problems.

    “I've seen the drug use down here, hypodermic needles, syringes,” Holmquist said.  “I've seen broken alcohol bottles.”

    Neighbor Dave Pope started a Save the Beach campaign. In 2016, the city of Seattle initiated the condemnation process on the property, and eventually reached a deal with the two neighboring property owners. It wasn't until the end of May that the deal was finalized giving the public access to the water.

    KIRO 7 talked to one of the property owners on Tuesday who didn't want to comment. But they didn't come out empty handed - the two split $800,000 from the city in the deal.

    “Finally the right side prevailed,” Rick Sullivan told KIRO 7 as he cycled by on the Burke Gillman Trail.  “Been going on the trail for about 30 years, and it's good to have an open space for all the families out here.”

    It was a long battle that pitted neighbor versus neighbor.

    “I'm sorry we went through such a hassle over the whole thing but sometimes that's just the way it is,” neighbor Terry Dale said.  “In the long run it’ll be a good asset to the community here.”

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