“Islands can seem rather special, but then so can islanders... most people who remove themselves to islands regard themselves as having entered paradise...”
Most residents of Mercer Island consider it their own special paradise, a woodsy haven floating in the middle of Lake Washington, suspended by the ribbon of Interstate 90 between the metropolitan hubs of Seattle and Bellevue.
While it is an island, Mercer Island is anything but insular. Its central location in the Puget Sound region and proximity to Seattle are parts of its attractive attributes.
Mercer Island the only city in King County located on an island, and the only community in King County in which the boundary of the city and the school district serving the community are identical.
Mercer Island’s six square miles are home to about 22,000 people.
Because of its island character, Mercer Island has a strong sense of community. Residents refer to themselves as "Islanders" and take pride in the Island¹s friendly, small-town atmosphere.
Five miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide, Mercer Island is primarily a residential community. While most residents work in Seattle or Eastside cities, there are a growing number of residents who telecommute or operate home businesses. The proximity to Seattle, low crime rate, the tranquil and woodsy ambiance, and excellent schools have made Mercer Island one of the most desirable places to live in the region.
The Island is home to executives and professionals. Perhaps its most famous resident is Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and the fifth-richest person in the world according to Forbes magazine. Mercer Island¹s zip code, 98040, is the wealthiest in the state.
Town Center changes, two business centers
The previous few years have brought the most sweeping changes to downtown Mercer Island since the ’60s and ’70s. Revitalization efforts initiated in 1993 to create a desirable and accessible downtown for Mercer Island residents are now bearing fruit.
Six redevelopment projects are creating new retail and office spaces with the addition of about 800 apartments, condominiums and senior living units to the Town Center. The addition of underground parking and public amenities like courtyards, plazas, public art and expanded landscaping are making the downtown an attractive place to live, shop, and work. New restaurants and shops add a new vitality and vibrancy. Good design, sound economic development and a stable sales and property tax base are community-wide benefits brought about by the redevelopment of the Town Center.
While most of the business activity on the Island is in the Town Center on the north end, there is also a newly redeveloped shopping center serving the south end of the Island. Restaurants and services draw people from the entire island.
An expanded park-and-ride facility just north of I-90, completed in 2008, doubled the number of parking spaces available and made public transportation to Bellevue and Seattle even easier.
Quality of Life
In December 2005, Mercer Island proudly opened its new Community Center at Mercer View. Atop a hillside overlooking Luther Burbank Park with panoramic views of Lake Washington and the Cascade mountains, the 42,744 square foot facility at 8236 SE 24th Street is located at the old community center which was constructed in 1960 as an elementary school. The new $13.1 million center has geometric emphasis and an exterior façade of brick, steel, glass and metal siding. It is both a primary civic meeting place and a multi-generational facility for the community.
Mercer Island has always taken pride in its parks and open spaces. The city owns and maintains more than 475 acres of parks and open space, which help preserve the Island¹s natural beauty and woodsy character.
There are three large city parks with beaches: Luther Burbank Park, Clarke Beach and Groveland Beach Park. There is also the 120-acre wooded Pioneer Park, the 20-acre Park on the Lid over I-90, and numerous street end parks and landings. There are many ball fields, bike trails and picnic areas, as well as more than 50 miles of marked hiking trails.
In 2003, the City of Mercer Island obtained the 72-acre Luther Burbank Park from King County. This jewel of a park has 4,000 feet of shoreline, a boat dock and fishing pier, three miles of maintained trails, as well as a children¹s play area, tennis courts, community pea patches, and off-leash dog run.
Mercer Islanders have long appreciated the arts and how they enhance quality of life. There are a number of arts organizations on the Island, not only for those who create art, but those who appreciate it. In addition, the Mercer Island Arts Council is an advisory board to the City Council, whose mission is to nurture, promote and support high-quality cultural activities for the community. The Arts Council oversees the I-90 Outdoor Art Gallery and administers public art. Its most popular program is the Mostly Music in the Park series of free summer concerts, which attract thousands of visitors every year.
Summer Celebration, Mercer Island¹s summer festival, a Seafair event, is held on the second weekend in July. It features fireworks, a two-day street fair, a parade, garden tour, entertainment, food and more.
Mercer Island’s sister city is Thonon les Bains, France, a beautiful city on the south shore of Lake Geneva in the Haute Savoie region of France. The Mercer Island Sister City Association, a member of Sister Cities International promotes student, cultural and other exchanges between the two cities.
Mercer Island has a strong tradition of volunteerism and many clubs and organizations help make up the tight-knit fabric of the community. There are service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Club, special interest clubs like the Mercer Island Historical Society and the Mercer Island Craft Guild, as well as clubs for the range of Islanders from children to seniors.
There are three membership country clubs on the Island, as well as a Boys & Girls Club and the Stroum Jewish Community Center.
Male: 48.1 percent
Female: 51.9 percent
Median age: 44.3 years
White: 84.1 percent
Asian: 12 percent
Other: 3.9 percent
Percent with bachelor’s degree or higher: 60.1 percent
Average 2004 household income: $169,841
Households on the Island: 8,581
Average household size: 2.6 persons
Owner-occupied housing units: 80.5 percent
Renter-occupied housing units: 19.5 percent
Married-couple families: 65.6 percent
With children under 18 years: 30.2 percent
Head of household living alone: 22.1 percent
Households with individuals under 18 years: 36.5 percent
Households with individuals 65 years and over: 31.7 percent
Median Household income: $101,684
Median Prices: Homes $848,500, Condos $352,000
Typical tax rate: $8.61/$1,000 assessed value
Mean travel time to work: 23.1 minutes
Average winter temperature: 40 degrees F
Average summer temperature: 70 degrees F
Average yearly rainfall: 35 inches
(half falls between October and January)
Statistics and Facts
• The land area of Mercer Island is 6.2 square miles
• Mercer Island is positioned 47.56 degrees north of the equator and 122.23 degrees west of the prime meridian
• Mercer Island is the only city in King County situated on an island
Mercer Island is the only community in King County in which the boundary of the city and the school district are identical
• Mercer Island is the 50th largest city in the state of Washington
• Mercer Island has more than 50 miles of marked walking paths and trails
Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce
City of Mercer Island
Mercer Island School District #400
Mercer Island Fire Department (206) 275-7607
Mercer Island Police Department
Non-emergency: (425) 587-3400
Business calls(206) 275-7610
Community Center at Mercer View (206) 275-7609
Mercer Island Library
Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island Post Office:
Mercer Island Swimming Pool:
Utilities, gas/electric :
Puget Sound Energy, (888)-225-5773
City of Mercer Island, (206) 236-5300
Qwest, (800) 244-111 or (206) 345-5552
Refuse Collection and Recycling:
Allied Waste Services, (206) 682-9730
Comcast, (877) 824-2268
King County Elections