Peace Park project delayed

City received two bids, both over estimate
By Brandon Gustafson | Aug 21, 2019

The Monday, Aug. 19, Mukilteo City Council meeting was quick and not very notable, except for one piece of news: the Peace Park project on the Byers’ property will be delayed until next year.

The Peace Park project has been discussed since 2016, shortly after the July 30, 2016, shooting where three Kamiak grads were shot and killed at a party. A fourth student was shot and injured, but survived. The idea for a Peace Park was to be a place of quiet reflection, while also honoring those killed in the shooting. Eventually, the Byers property in the 600 block of Fourth Street was selected as the site, due largely to its unobstructed view of Puget Sound, the Mukilteo Lighthouse, and Lighthouse Park.

The Byers Park property was donated to the City in 2013. The owner of the land died, and his brother donated it to the City to be used as a park in the future, with the only caveat being that the Byers name is included in the  park’s name.

In late June, The Beacon reported that the park’s estimated completion date would be late this summer, either in August or September.

That has since changed, Mukilteo’s Recreation and Cultural Services Director Jeff Price told the council Monday.

The short of it: the City received two bids for the project, and both bids were over the City’s engineer’s estimate of $200,200, per the City’s agenda bill. The cheapest bid was close to $225,000, while the only other bid was roughly $240,000.

Early on, the City Council set a price tag of $40,000 for the project. It soon rose to close to more than $80,000, and then in early 2018, the council learned that the City had received $400,000 in a grant from the state Legislature for the project. That $400,000 is actually roughly $388,000 due to a state-required administrative fee, Price said.

The grant funds came at the expense of money earmarked for the Japanese Gulch Daylighting Project, which had been set to receive $721,000. Sen. Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo) then directed that the $721,000 be split into two 21st Legislative District projects – Mukilteo’s Peace Park and the Mariner Community Campus project.

Throughout the process for the park, the City has also received donations in the form of services, donations on park amenities such as benches, as well as monetary donations from community members and businesses.

Additionally, Price said, there was some “bidder confusion” regarding some language in the bid regarding permitting and right of way. Due to those two issues, Price recommended the council reject both bids, and allow City staff to look for ways to save money for the next round of bidding, and then rebid the project this winter. The council unanimously rejected both bids.

On Tuesday, Price told the Beacon that he and his staff will be “strategizing over the next few weeks” on when the best time to rebid the project. That could be either this year, or after Jan. 1, 2020.

“We know some buds in the area have been coming in high, but we were optimistic,” he said. “But we’re still positive going forward.”

Former Mukilteo City councilmember and frequent council meeting attendee Charlie Pancerzewski said the City was wasting its time with this project, as it would add another park in Old Town, while there’s just one in Harbour Pointe. Additionally, he said it didn’t seem like the City is planning for the costs to maintain the park. He also felt safety wasn’t being looked at as closely as it should be.

There is no onsite parking at the Byers property, so those wishing to get to the park would have to either park somewhere close to Rosehill Community Center and walk and cross SR 525, or people would need to walk up from Lighthouse Park. A few safety pluses, however, is that the park is near a Community Transit stop, and that the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District recently finished construction of a new, 8-foot sidewalk near the Byers property.

Pancerzewski said this was a double standard, as part of the reason a park and ride on Bernie Webber Drive further south on Mukilteo Speedway got scrapped a few years ago was because some City Council members at the time had concerns with people having to cross the street.

Former Mayor Joe Marine, who is running for City Council against Kristina Melnichenko, said the property was listed at roughly $350,000 when it was gifted to the City, and that he feels the City is effectively spending $400,000 on landscaping.

 

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