Kent park to close Sept. 17 for Green River levee work

The city of Kent will close Three Friends Fishing Hole Park on Sept. 17 for Green River levee work. The park is expected to reopen next March. - STEVE HUNTER, Kent Reporter
The city of Kent will close Three Friends Fishing Hole Park on Sept. 17 for Green River levee work. The park is expected to reopen next March.
— image credit: STEVE HUNTER, Kent Reporter

A Kent park will close starting Monday, Sept. 17 so a contractor can begin work on a $2.65 million project along the Green River to improve the Boeing Levee and provide better flood protection to the Kent Valley.

Crews will close the Three Friends Fishing Hole Park, 20025 Russell Road. Construction should be completed by next March, according to a city media release.

The Green River Trail will remain open but the parking lot and park will be closed due to the large equipment and materials needed for construction. Because the park is a trailhead, portable restrooms will be available.

"The work at the park is part of the city’s efforts to achieve FEMA accreditation on the entire right (east) bank of the Green River," said city environmental engineer Toby Hallock in reference to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "FEMA accreditation means that this levee is certified to meet federal levee safety standards and will remove some landward areas from the floodplain.

"This is important, because areas that are in the floodplain are required to have flood insurance. By achieving accreditation of our levees, the majority of the Kent Valley will be removed from the floodplain.”

Construction at Three Friends Fishing Hole includes installing a secondary earthen levee and a new decorative flood wall along the back of the park.  Both will help reduce flood risk from the river. By building the flood wall at the back edge of the park, the existing vegetation along the bank of the river can remain in place, stabilizing the riverbank and providing habitat for wildlife and shade to the river.

The city has also formed a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for an environmental restoration project along the Green River directly south of Three Friends Fishing Hole. This project is in its design phase and will include removing excess material and invasive weeds along the bank of the river and installing native plants from the park down to South 212th Street.

“Along with the habitat improvements native plants will provide, by removing excess material we will increase the flood storage capacity in the river, which also reduces flood risk,” Hallock said.

A state grant will cover $2 million of the cost. The city will pay for the rest through its storm water drainage utility fee fund or with funds from the King County Flood Control District.

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