Letter to the editor: Ballinger Park, Lake Ballinger recreation projects benefit our region


I read in a recent letter to the editor that for Edmonds properties and residents east of Highway 99, “there’s nothing for parks for the people that live there.” Actually this is not really the case. Immediately to the east of the Interurban, which is Edmonds’ border, there is a regional park that is now in the process of redevelopment. Formerly a modest nine-hole golf course, this 55-acre property was purchased by the City of Mountlake Terrace in the 1960s and 1970s with primarily state and federal funds in the amount of $400,000, for the exclusive purpose of being redeveloped as a regional park. This included regional access to and from Edmonds and Highway 99 to the west and to Mountlake Terrace and other areas to the east, via Lakeside Drive on its east side.

As has been described in both My Edmonds News and the Edmonds Beacon, these same federal and state agencies, along with the county and the city within whose boundaries the regional park resides, are now in the process of funding and conducting regional  development. In 2021, a new fishing pier and a new boat launch, in addition to shoreline restoration, was completed at a cost of $1.5 million. This spring, with funding from the Edmonds-based Hazel Miller Foundation and the state, a “universally accessible” playground will be installed.

In the future, $2 million in federal and state funds will be used to complete a trail system throughout the park. This will have direct access to the Interurban Trail system and thereby to Edmonds folks. Also in 2023, Halls Creek, which flows from Halls Lake in Lynnwood and eventually through the regional park to Ballinger Lake, will be realigned so as to enhance its environmentally critical flow into the lake.

The lake itself, and its island, lies within both of the two adjacent cities. Interestingly, the lake is the recipient also of flows from Chase Lake in the Esperance area south of Edmonds and west of Highway 99, and also from Echo Lake in the King County city of Shoreline. The lake has been the recipient of interagency funding over the years  to improve its critical environmental and operational roles, through the Lake Ballinger/McAleer Creek Forum. The forum includes elected and staff representatives from Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Lake Forest Park, Lynnwood, Shoreline and Snohomish County

We can now truthfully say that Ballinger Park, and the adjacent Ballinger Lake, will be providing regional recreational, park and environmentally critical service to the entire region that they serve. The needed funding that makes this possible was secured by the sustained efforts over the past several decades of the elected officials of the City of Mountlake Terrace with the critical cooperation of its regional neighbors. Only in this way can truly regional goals be achieved,

Bob White

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