Senior Center parking lot area sinking, no danger to the public

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A section of the parking lot outside the Mountlake Terrace Community Senior Center at Ballinger Park has settled on both sides of a city sewer pipe, leaving a hump in the lot. (Photo by Doug Petrowski)

A portion of the parking lot at Ballinger Park in Mountlake Terrace has shown signs of sinking, but city officials assure the situation does not present a public danger.

A section of the parking lot at 23000 Lakeview Dr. has sunk a few inches on both sides of a sewer pipe that runs east-west beneath the asphalt, leaving what appears to be a hump in the lot. While the asphalt has some minor cracks and some of the curbing in the area has broken apart, the city is reporting no damage to the sewer pipe.

City officials believe the sunken portion of the lot is a result of the ground composition that the lot is built upon. “Ballinger Park and the parking lot are all on peat,” said Jeff Betz, City of Mountlake Terrace Recreation and Parks director. “Peat can be somewhat unstable and can sink over time.”

“There is no danger to the public of any kind,” Betz added. “The city just needs to ascertain what’s the cause and a reasonable way to solve it.”

City officials are determining potential temporary fixes to the uneven lot, but admit a long-term permanent solution may be years away. A redesigned and rebuilt parking lot is part of the Ballinger Park Master Plan adopted by the city in September 2015. City officials are currently applying for grants from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office seeking funds to help cover the $13-$15 million cost of the master plan.

–By Doug Petrowski

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