Let’s make Mukilteo a better place to live, work and raise a family

By Marko Liias and Brian Sullivan | Jul 25, 2013

Planning for the future is imperative, and it’s time for Mukilteo to take a bold step for a better future.

Some of the things that make our region a great place to live, work, and raise a family are the investments we have made in parks, open space and our local heritage. These important ventures benefit homeowners, businesses, local families and make our community more vibrant as a whole.

This year we have the opportunity to take another step forward by completing the acquisition of the remaining 98 acres in the Japanese Gulch – securing the public’s ownership of this unique urban forest.

In November, citizens of Mukilteo overwhelmingly voted in favor of purchasing this valuable green space that, when completed, will serve as a multiple-use regional park that will provide recreational and educational opportunities for our community and serve as an urban ecological reserve for a diverse set of species.

This year, with the help of local advocates, community leaders and businesses, we have successfully secured additional funding in the proposed state capital budget and a significant investment from Snohomish County to bridge the funding gap; bringing us closer to our goal of acquiring the remaining acreage to complete the project.

This is an exciting step because it means that the burden of acquiring these lands no longer rests squarely on the shoulders of just the citizens of Mukilteo. Now city leaders must step up to the plate and find the remaining funding for this important project if we are going to move forward with this bold vision.

Our regional and state leaders have recognized that this project will benefit the entire Puget Sound by attracting tourism, preserving the local heritage of both local tribes and the Japanese immigrants who originally located to the Seattle area, and protecting local streams and salmon habitats that are vitally important to the health of the Sound.

It’s clear that the clock is ticking.

Mukilteo needs to step up to take advantage of the advantageous price of land to ensure a better value on our dollar. Additionally, per a bankruptcy court order, the property must be sold by 2014. This means that if we don’t act now it is likely this pristine heritage site will be converted to industrial use.

Strong and vibrant communities rely on forward thinking and investment. Part of building any successful community is preserving open space and bettering our quality of life.

Mukilteo has always been one of these vibrant communities. It is a place that our children want to return home to when they take the next step in their lives and raise their families. Together we can ensure future generations can enjoy the beauty that is our region and our city.

The time to act is now, and we hope that local officials can join both the state and county governments to take the final bold step to make this dream a reality.

This Op-Ed was written by State Rep. Marko Liias and Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan.

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