Steel Lake Park to reopen Oct. 2

Seven-week closure was prompted by a spike of COVID-19 cases in the South King County area.

Steel Lake Park is reopening Friday, Oct. 2, after a seven-week closure was put into effect to protect the health of local residents.

The Federal Way park closed Aug. 13 after an upswing in positive cases of COVID-19 in South King County, a steady increase that was acknowledged by Gov. Jay Inslee during his July 20 press conference in Federal Way.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell made the decision to reopen the park this week after consulting with Emergency Manager Ray Gross, Parks Director John Hutton and King County Public Health.

“With COVID-19 numbers for King County trending in a favorable direction over the last four weeks, we believe now is a good time for us to safely open the park,” Ferrell said. “Nevertheless, we are recommending parkgoers and all our residents continue to follow public health directives, maintain social distancing, and wear a mask.”

Overall, virus rates in King County have seen a slight decrease since Sept. 1, which had a seven-day average of 108 positive cases. On Sept. 26, King County Public Health recorded a seven-day average of 86 cases.

Federal Way remains one of the cities with the highest rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths countywide. Federal Way is lower than the overall King County rate in test counts and the number of people tested, according to the COVID-19 outbreak summary as of Sept. 27.

In South King County, Federal Way has the second most virus-related deaths at 37, with Kent leading at 54 deaths.

During the seven-week closure of Steel Lake Park, parks department employees completed natural and artificial turf repairs, roof cleaning, gutter repairs, painting and deep cleaning of picnic shelters, among other improvements.

Additionally, the playground at Town Square Park will also open Oct. 2.

“We hope people will continue to abide by the governor’s statewide mask mandate and continue to social distance as we help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Federal Way,” Ferrell said.

Highest rates in South King County by city

(Rate; number of positive cases)

Algona: Rate of 2,569.7 per 100,000 residents; 82 positive test results

Auburn: 1,741.9 per 100,000 residents; 1,378

Federal Way: 1,844.8 per 100,000; 1,773

Kent: 1,742.2 per 100,000; 2,231

SeaTac: 2,102 per 100,000; 608

Tukwila: 2,213.1 per 100,000; 447