Proposal to build new city park fails

By Brandon Gustafson | Apr 18, 2018

After listening to preliminary budget talks for most of Monday’s Mukilteo City Council Meeting, Councilmember Anna Rohrbough filed a motion to build a new park in Mukilteo.

Mukilteo received a $400,000 grant from the state of Washington for the Peace Park project that will be constructed at Byers Park, and the Mukilteo City Council had decided they would be doing a smaller project for the park, which will cost roughly $90,000.

The council also decided that, with the additional funds from the state, they would direct city staff to look into pedestrian safety improvements near the Peace Park, as well as additional parking.

Rohrbough’s motion was to build another park using the remaining funds from the state grant for the Peace Park, and removing the direction for city staff to look into pedestrian safety and parking at Byers, essentially allocating $310,000 toward a new park.

“I think you guys know where my passion lies as far as putting a park and building for our youth,” Rohrbough said. “I want to make a motion to allocate the remainder of the funds from the Peace Park grant to a second location in the Harbour Pointe area to serve the majority of the youth in our community where they live and attend schools, the specific design and location to be vetted by the Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee and the Mukilteo Youth Coalition and Parks and Arts Commission.”

Council Vice President Christine Cook seconded the motion.

During previous Peace Park discussions, Rohrbough said she wished there was a park or open space closer to Kamiak for children in Mukilteo to go to. She noted that while she and her family lived in Utah, she didn’t connect with many of her fellow citizens until she and her family started going to the local park.

Councilmember Scott Whelpley liked Rohrbough’s idea, but felt the timing wasn’t right.

“I have no problem doing that, but right now? No,” Whelpley said.

Council President Steve Schmalz sided with Whelpley, and said they shouldn’t remove funds for safety improvements and parking with the upcoming Peace Park.

“There was a lot of debate about where the location of the park was going to be, and I think some of the reasons was some of the safety issues to get to the park down at Byers,” Schmalz said. “I think that was a pretty good compromise of the council to come up with and use some of the money for safety improvements in that particular area. I’m afraid if we allocate the rest of the money for another park, we’ll start to get into some of our other funding for those (safety) improvements.

“As much as I understand Councilmember Rohrbough’s concern in her wanting to put in another park, I would like to wait until we finish the project like Councilmember Whelpley said, and then see where we’re at.”

Schmalz also questioned where another park would be located, as well as what the cost of construction and maintenance would be.

Rohrbough said she left the location vague so they could receive public input, especially from the city’s children, on where they felt the best location would be.

Rohrbough also said that the Peace Park at Byers could be a place for quiet reflection whereas the other park could be a place of joy and new beginnings.

Whelpley ended the discussion by saying they should discuss the matter after the Peace Park is completed, and he would likely be in favor of building a new park then.

“I don’t think anybody would say no if it was after the fact that we’re done with the park,” Whelpley said. “I think once we complete that, I can almost guarantee you that you’ll have the majority of the vote you need. Right now, if we can hold off, I’m confident that I wouldn’t have a problem voting yes after we’re completed with this one.”

Ultimately, the motion failed, 5-2, with Rohrbough and Cook casting the only “aye” votes.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Joe Kunzler | Apr 18, 2018 12:59

Great write-up of a discussion I watched on the video replay!

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