Peace Park construction expected to begin soon

Project expected to open later this summer
By Brandon Gustafson | Jun 26, 2019
Artwork by: Mark Harrison A sketch design of a biker passing the drafted Peace Park sign.

One of Mukilteo’s more heavily discussed projects in recent memory is expected to pick up steam in the next month or so.

The Peace Park, which will be located at Byers Park in Old Town, with a view of Lighthouse Park and the Puget Sound, is inching closer to completion, and could open in the next two to three months, though the park’s completion is contingent on the City receiving an acceptable bid. The Byers family donated the Byers Park property to the City.

“We’re real close to being 100 percent done with the design,” said Mukilteo Recreation and Cultural Services Director Jeff Price. “We plan on going to bid this month, and should have a contractor on site in August.”

The turnaround at that point should be quick, Price said, as the project is small at just 1,400 square feet.

The project was first discussed in 2016, shortly after the July 2016 shooting where three Kamiak grads were shot and killed and a fourth injured.

The park is not only in honor of the three Kamiak grads, but is to be a place of peace and reflection for anyone, especially those who have lost friends and loved ones to suicide and gun violence.

The City has ample funds for the project, receiving a $400,000 state grant in 2018, as well as in-kind donations.

“Given the nature and genesis of the project, we made sure to take a thoughtful and deliberate approach,” Price said. “With that, some opportunities presented themselves, and we had a number of people volunteer their assistance, and also give contributions.”

Among those is ProGranite Surfaces LLC, a local business in Mukilteo, which donated benches for the project.

Additionally, the City has received monetary donations, as well as nearly $25,000 in services from an architectural engineer.

One of the issues that came up with the project initially had to do with the park’s location. Some in the community, and City government, had concerns with the Byers property due to a lack of access.

Some past and current councilmembers wanted to look at locations closer to Kamiak, or further south on Mukilteo Speedway. When the plan for a Peace Park was initially discussed, the first location tossed around was Harbour Pointe’s Village Center.

There is no parking at the Byers property, and initially, pedestrian access was limited and, to some, thought unsafe.

While there still will be no parking at the park, pedestrian access has improved greatly over the last several months.

As many in Old Town know, the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District conducted numerous projects over the last few months. One of those projects included the construction of a new 8t-foot wide sidewalk next to the park.

“That saved us over $100,000. That’s a really great thing,” Price said.

Price said there are also talks of moving a Community Transit stop to the front of the park, which would also make it closer to the crosswalk at Fifth Street.

“That’s not for sure yet,” he said, “but they (Community Transit) approached us with the idea.”

Bikers in the area should also be pleased, as a bike repair station will be at the park for free use.

With the grant, Price said the City is able to “provide a more robust project” than initially anticipated, when the price tag was expected to be less than $100,000.

Price said he’s happy there has many chances for the public to provide comment, noting there have been open houses as well as updates at City Council and Parks & Arts Commission meetings.

Those with questions about the project can contact Price at jprice@mukilteowa.gov or 425-263-8180.

Byers Park’s address is 601 Fourth St.

 

@Funding history@

In 2018, the state Legislature initially allotted $721,000 to the Japanese Gulch Daylighting Project. That money was later pulled, and split into two other projects in the 21st Legislative District: the Mukilteo Peace Park and the Mariner Community Campus Project in unincorporated Snohomish County.

Mukilteo councilmembers learned about the shift in funds at their March 5, 2018, meeting, and said they were surprised to hear about receiving the funds.

Initially, the price tag for the project was $40,000, later increased to $80,000.

At multiple council meetings in 2017 and 2018, councilmembers voiced concern over the increasing cost, as well as the increasing scope of the project.

Upon hearing of the $400,000 grant, many on the council questioned why they were receiving that money when the park’s initial budget was 10 percent of the total grant.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said at the March 5 meeting that Sen. Marko Liias helped the City secure funds for Peace Park.

One councilmember upset with the funding swap was Bob Champion, who reached out to Liias to figure out why that occurred.

Liias told Champion via email that he personally asked the funds to be switched.

“I asked to postpone the funding for the Japanese Gulch restoration project because there are two more pressing projects that have emerged as urgent needs in the 21st District, and as you well know, the Japanese Gulch project does not yet have a pathway to full funding and implementation,” Liias wrote to Champion.

Gregerson forwarded a string of emails between herself, former Mukilteo community development director Patricia Love, Price, and Liias’ assistant, to The Beacon.

In the emails, it shows the city requested state funds for the Peace Park on Jan. 26, 2018. It was announced the City received funding for the Japanese Gulch project in mid-January 2018.

 

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