City Council approves plan for Peace Park

Location, funding amount, and scope set after year and a half
By Brandon Gustafson | Mar 21, 2018

After continuous deliberation and debate, the Mukilteo Peace Park project finally has a set direction from the Mukilteo City Council.

At the Monday, March 19, meeting, Mukilteo’s Director of Recreation and Cultural Services Jeff Price gave four options to the council for a Peace Park in Mukilteo, either at Byers Park or possibly at Harbour Pointe Village Park.

The first option was described as a small feature, with plaques and a bench area costing around $27,000.

The second option was a 1,400-square-foot overlook that includes an entry, landscaping and seating. This was referred to as “phase one” and was estimated at $78,000.

The third option was the same as option two, except would also include a potential water feature as well as parking spaces and other extra features. This would have cost up to $400,000, the amount the city received in a grant from the state two weeks ago.

The fourth option was to either delay or cancel the project altogether.

Ultimately, the council unanimously approved the second option, with some added funds, totaling up to $90,000, and set the location at Byers Park.

Some councilmembers have had reservations regarding the Byers location due to a lack of parking, as well as safety concerns.

Councilmember Scott Whelpley, who has made his displeasure at this process well known, questioned why the city received funds from the state, and why it took so long to have definitive options with set costs presented to the council.

“Why did we receive $400,000 from the state when we can do option two, which is small and is what the citizens and kids wanted?” Whelpey said. “I am exceptionally confused on how did we get here if we have a definitive number of $78,000 to have a decent Peace Park at Byers?”

Councilmember Bob Champion asked whether the city staff could look into how much it would cost to provide additional parking at Byers, as that has been a recurring issue with that location.

Mukilteo’s Community Development Director Patricia Love said additional parking would cost between $10,000 and $15,000 because of drainage and grading the area.

Monday’s meeting was the third time the Peace Park has been a topic at a council meeting in 2018.

“The reason why I wanted to continue to put this on the agenda is I think we should make a decision on this,” Council President Steve Schmalz said. “I know we want to give direction to the city’s staff. I think they’re looking for some direction from the council.”

Schmalz went on to say he supported having the park at Byers and that the second option was the most attractive to him as it would be a rather simple design.

Champion agreed with Schmalz, noting the council had given $40,000 for the project in the 2017 budget and an additional $50,000 in the 2018 budget.

“I’m OK with spending what we allotted,” Champion said.

Champion also said with the additional funds from the state’s grant, he would like to see the staff look at parking and safety improvements for Byers.

Councilmember Sarah Kneller also liked the second option, and wanted to keep the mission statement of the park clear.

“I want to make sure we have a really clear mission statement on what this park is going to include, because when we’re communicating that to residents as members of the council, I myself don’t want to misquote what the intent is and confuse anybody,” Kneller said.

Councilmember Anna Rohrbough also supported the second option, but wanted to use the additional state funds to go toward the youth in Mukilteo by building another park near Harbour Pointe, and cited issues within the Mukilteo School District for why that should come about.

“These are our kids that live in our cities, and we are facing the consequences to their mental health issues that are coming out of their school experience,” Rohrbough said.

Rohrbough gave a passionate talk about how some kids can’t go to adults about their issues without being ridiculed in some way, being told they’re dumb or stupid.

“The only people paying the consequences for speaking their truth and trying to get the best grades that they can are the kids,” Rohrbough said. “We need to give the kids a place, one place outside of Byers Park, one place they can go to and they can see that at least our City Council and at least our city believes in them.”

President Schmalz motioned to have the Peace Park at Byers and go with the second option presented by Price, but with a budget of $90,000 rather than $78,000.

He also motioned to use the state grant to reimburse the parks and acquisition fund, as well as a requirement for council approval of any expenditure over $5,000.

Councilmember Champion supported Schmalz’s motion, but added an amendment that the city should look at additional parking and pedestrian safety and to bring those reports back to the council.

Champion’s amendment passed five votes to two, with Rohrbough and Whelpley voting against it. Rohbrough felt restricting additional funds to parking and public safety was too limited.

Schmalz’s main motion with Champion’s amendment passed unanimously.

According to Price, the park should be completed by July of this year.

 

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