From Flower Shop to Public Park: Jacob Ambaum Park

Children play on playground.
Jacob Ambaum Park opened in 2007.

Nestled between two commercial strips and multifamily housing is a little green oasis called Jacob Ambaum Park. A playground, basketball court, picnic table, and benches offer a place for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and play.

Recognizing some of the safety concerns that have emerged in recent years, the Burien Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department is evaluating options to increase access and activate the park through live events, programming, and environmental restoration projects.

Brief history of the park

1950s: Tomiko Suyama operated Tomi’s Flower Shop in Burien from the 1950s through the 1990s. She studied fashion design at the Broadway Technical Institute, but her education was interrupted by her relocation to the Minidoka War Relocation Center, one of ten camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II. She opened Tomi’s Flower Shop in 1950 on Beacon Hill. After opening two more stores, the Burien store became the flagship location.

2001: City identified two parcels on Ambaum Blvd that, if purchased together, could provide enough space to build a play area for children as well as a sports court.

2002: City staff recognized that this area of Burien lacked open and recreational space and there was no active park within walking distance of the north end of the Ambaum corridor. The development of a park in this neighborhood had already been identified as a priority in the most recent Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan.

2003: The Suyama Family Limited Partnership granted its lot to the City of Burien for $190,000 on March 25, 2003. Plans for the new Jacob Ambaum Park included the playground and basketball court, a public restroom, picnic areas, and plaza.

2007: Named after early Burien resident Jacob Ambaum, the park was completed and opened for public use in February 2007.

Park location: 12621 Ambaum Blvd SW

Amenities: The park offers a playground, basketball court, picnic tables, and benches. The park has a small on-site parking lot.

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