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Originally published Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Neighborhood of the week

Kennydale | A place on the lake to put down roots

Residents of Kennydale, in northeast Renton, are having a hard time continuing to keep their neighborhood a secret.

Special to The Seattle Times

Kennydale

Population: About 4,840.

Distance to downtown Seattle: About 13 miles.

Schools: The neighborhood is served by the Renton School District.

Recreation: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, 1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N. The 55-acre waterfront part includes eight boat-launch lanes, four picnic shelters (reservations required), playground equipment, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball courts, fishing pier, summer swimming area and more than 1.5 miles of paved walking trails along the shoreline and

access to the Lake Washington Loop Trail.

Fun fact: Kennydale was named by developer Clarence Hillman for his wife, the former Bessie Kenny. He named his Hillman City development in Seattle after himself, though.

2008 sales activity (through August)

Number of sales: 48

Median sales price: $432,425

Lowest sales price: $250,000

Highest sales price: $660,000

Median size: Three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2,105 square feet

— Kennydale information compiled by Seattle Times

news researcher Miyoko Wolf. Sales figures provided by Windermere Real Estate.

Residents of Kennydale are having a hard time continuing to keep their neighborhood a secret.

The lakeside community in northeast Renton has flown under the radar with flashier Eastside areas garnering more attention.

Not anymore. Kennydale is now home to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, the new Seattle Seahawks training facility that opened this summer for the Seahawks and public viewing of their practices.

Additionally, The Landing, an upscale urban village with shopping, restaurants, a movie theater and apartments, is remaking the landscape just south of Kennydale's border.

Despite the changes, the spirit of old Kennydale lives on.

"It is a very friendly neighborhood," says Marcie Maxwell, who serves as the president of the Kennydale Neighborhood Association.

Place to stay

"There is something about Kennydale. Once you move here, you don't want to leave," adds longtime resident Kim Browne, who has moved twice, but stayed within its borders.

"The strong sense of community exists because of the people. The neighbors stay and invest and raise their families," says Browne, who says the views of water and mountains still take her breath away.

Browne is a founding member of the neighborhood association and a former PTSA president of Kennydale Elementary.

The neighborhood is active with a wide variety of social events, including ice-cream socials, a singalong and s'mores gathering and a large picnic that draws around 700 residents.

With its quick access to Interstate 405, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle and Bellevue as well as its proximity to the Renton Boeing plant, the location is a draw for potential homebuyers.

Interstate 405 divides Kennydale into an upper and lower section. There are multimillion-dollar waterfront homes and homes with views of Lake Washington, Mount Rainier and the Cascades, but there are also apartments, condominiums, and starter homes.

Prices range from about $250,000 to $4 million, according to real-estate agents.

The high-end includes the new Barbee Mill development, consisting of luxury "paired housing," or duplex town houses, on Lake Washington at the site of the former Barbee Mill, which operated there for over 50 years until a fire shut it down in 2002.

It was the last functioning timber mill in the Seattle area.

Patchwork quilt

Driving through Kennydale, it appears a bit of a patchwork quilt of housing styles and lot sizes.

It's not uncommon to see new development next to homes built in the 1950s.

The Kennydale area was first developed in the early 1900s, and some of the original turn-of-the century homes still exist. It originally was platted as the "Lake Washington Garden of Eden."

One of its biggest claims to fame lies in its history. A young Clint Eastwood was a lifeguard at Kennydale Beach in the early 1950s when his parents lived in Seattle.

In 1960, Joan Moffatt and her husband bought a home in Kennydale. They still live in the same house.

"Once people move to Kennydale, they don't want to leave. There are a lot of families whose kids live in the neighborhood, too, including two of mine," Moffatt says.

Moffatt remembers the days before I-405 was built. The open land was dotted with orchards while the beach was a place her kids had great freedom to play.

Kennydale has changed a lot during its transformation from a quiet, rural community to a bustling suburb. But to many residents, it's a secret worth sharing.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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