City making progress on peace park

Park on fast track to open next summer
By Nicholas Johnson | Aug 02, 2017
Photo by: Nicholas Johnson Scott Specht, a member of the city’s Parks and Arts Commission, places a sticker next to his favorite concept for a peace park in Mukilteo on Wednesday, July 26, at the Rosehill Community Center.

The city’s Parks and Arts Commission will discuss community feedback Thursday, Aug. 3, on concepts for a peace park in Mukilteo.

City planning staff held an open house Wednesday, July 26, to narrow six concepts developed during a June visioning session with community members. The open house also sought feedback on four proposed sites, as well as possible features of the park.

On top of comments collected at the open house, some 90 comments were received during a community picnic held in honor of the victims of last year’s deadly shooting at house party in Mukilteo.

“We are starting from a grassroots approach and building it from there,” Community Development Director Patricia Love said.

Of four proposed park sites, Byers Park and Harbour Pointe Village Park were the most popular choices. Byers Park is located on the city’s north end, across the Mukilteo Speedway from Red Cup Café. Harbour Pointe Village Park is located near City Hall at the corner of Harbour Reach Drive and Harbour Pointe Boulevard Southwest.

While Village Park is substantially larger, Byers Park features water views. Byers Park also received substantially more votes from the community.

Of the six concepts, developed from community input by Tim Corey of Colibri Facilitation, two rose to the top and will be discussed by the commission. Both include water features, among other things, and both received overwhelming support, which is not surprising considering the most desired park element is an interactive water feature.

“Our goal is to look at the concepts and then look at the elements to be within the park and then look at the two park sites that were most favored," Love said. "By combining those things, we hope to come away with a project we can start planning.”

The park is due to open July 31 of next year, meaning the project is on a bit of a fast track.

“The design process typically takes about a year for a park,” Love said. “Our time to do this is a lot shorter.”

The project will likely become a work in progress, Love said, with initial work being completed by the target opening date and additional elements being added in phases thereafter.

“We are definitely shooting for next summer, which is a pretty speedy turn around,” Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said.

In the days after last year’s deadly shooting, makeshift memorials arose at Kamiak High School and the LDS church next door. When those memorials were removed, many expressed a desire to create something lasting.

“There were a lot of people who wanted to do a garden or some kind of community service or something to demonstrate their caring,” Gregerson said. “From that, we moved toward the concept of doing a peace park.”

Gregerson said she was partially inspired by a similar peace park in Marysville. She said she not only envisions Mukilteo’s as a way to commemorate the victims of last year’s shooting, but also as an acknowledgement of youth who have committed suicide.

“There were several kids who died by suicide over the last few years,” she said. “From the beginning, it’s been clear that the shooting and these suicides have raised our awareness of the challenges our kids face broadly. I think there’s a sense that we would like to do something to prevent that, to give people a space where they can feel hope and feel that the community has hope for them.”

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