Peace Park likely to be finished in late July

Council not sold on locale, but park likely will be at Byers location
By Brandon Gustafson | Feb 07, 2018
Courtesy of: the city of Mukilteo The current plan is for the Peace Park to be at Byers Park along the Speedway.

During deliberations in last year’s budget talks, the majority of members of the Mukilteo City Council decided to reduce funding for a Peace Park.

The park would be a place of reflection after the July 2016 shooting that resulted in the deaths of Jake Long, Anna Bui and Jordan Ebner.

Due to a misinterpretation by the City Council of what line items were being adopted in their 2018 budget, the $50,000 remained towards funding the Peace Park, despite a majority of councilmembers choosing to reduce the funding.

At the Monday, Feb. 5, council meeting, Mukilteo’s Recreation and Cultural Services Director Jeff Price gave councilmembers an update on where the city is for creating the park.

“In 2017, the city began a public process to build a Peace Park, which included community members coming to a bunch of outreaches, workshops, we had survey opportunities at Rosehill for over two weeks,” Price said.

“We had over 100 people show up to these various outreach opportunities to provide input, thoughts and ideas about a Peace Park in Mukilteo.”

According to Price, the majority of citizens the city worked with felt that Byers Park, 601 4th Street, was the location they wanted for this park, and an engineer has donated roughly $20,000 worth of time designing the park for the Byers location.

The current plan for building the Peace Park at Byers Park would have two phases.

The first phase would include entry, seating, an arbor and landscaping, while the second phase, which Price said could happen somewhere down the road as funds are available, would incorporate a water element, pavement designs and other additional architectural features.

The first phase is estimated to cost $77,786, but Price said that number would likely be lower as he already has one company interested in building the arbor, which is estimated to cost $10,800, free of charge, and the city is reaching out to people and businesses about donating supplies and money for the project.

But councilmembers had some concerns with the project, such as the location.

Councilmember Anna Rohrbough thought the Byers location wasn’t ideal due to a lack of parking, and said she preferred to have the park located somewhere else.

“What I can’t get over is the parking,” Rohrbough said. “If I’m in my car, and I’m driving to go to the Peace Park, I’m probably going to just keep driving and park at Lighthouse Park. We’re already strapped for parking, so I can’t get over the parking, and if this is a peaceful place to go, we want to make it easy to go there.

“I do want to do something for this community that came together to plan this project, but I’m not behind it being at Byers Park at the moment.”

Price said the city has other options, such as Totem Park near Rosehill, and that the location that received the second most votes after Byers Park was at Harbour Pointe Village Park.

Councilmember Scott Whelpley agreed with Rohrbough that the location wasn’t feasible for a park like this, and he feels the price is too high for what was originally planned.

Councilmembers Bob Champion and Richard Emery said they were happy with the funding for the project, and Champion echoed Price’s thoughts that the price could go down with enough donations.

When asked by Council President Steve Schmalz what the next 30 to 60 days held for this project, Price said the city is looking to continue fundraising efforts to reduce the out-of-pocket cost to the city, and the goal is to complete the first phase by July 30, which would be the two-year anniversary of the shooting.

Schmalz moved to table the discussion until the March 5 meeting, and wanted the city to stop spending any additional money on the project until the council gave direction.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson noted that the city has a signed agreement with Perteet Engineering, but the city’s attorney said they could pause that agreement for the time being.

The motion failed three votes to three, as Council Vice President Christine Cook was not at the meeting.

Council President Schmalz and councilmembers Whelpley and Rohrbough voted to table the discussion and councilmembers Emery, Champion and Sarah Kneller voted against the motion.

“If we continue to go forward with this contract, then we’ve painted ourselves in a corner and we’re staying at Byers Park,” Whelpley said.

“Now we’ve had some councilmembers and even citizens of the city who made comments that they don’t think it’s a good place to have it. Now I personally don’t think it’s a great place to have it as well … so if we don’t table this, and we say ‘go ahead and go with this,’ then they’re going to spend those dollars in this project to do it at Byers Park.”

Mayor Gregerson said they’ll talk more about the Peace Park at the March 5 meeting.

 

 

 

 

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