Everett, Wash.– A long-standing plan for a pedestrian path surrounding Silver Lake is making headway amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Although a long-term goal of the city, the anticipated high expense to achieve the Silver Lake Trail Project kept the plan dormant. In 2019, Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin discovered ways to cut costs without compromising the design’s mission of improving accessible recreational opportunities and pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists around Silver Lake.
“Creating a connected recreational trail around the lake would further enhance this amenity for residents and visitors alike,” said Franklin in a statement to the Lynnwood Times. “This has been something city teams envisioned decades ago, but the high cost has always been a barrier. We’ve scaled back some of the design elements and found a way to improve recreational opportunities and pathways around the lake, affordably, so people of all abilities can safely enjoy it.”
In her 2020 State of Everett address, Mayor Franklin stated that the project was one of her goals for the year, but the pandemic’s impact on the city budget prompted a delay. Mayor Franklin then reinforced her commitment to the project in her 2021 address in January.
Increasing recreational opportunities in South Everett is a priority of Franklin. She says North Everett has predominately been the recipient of this development.
“This project is important to me because historically, many of the city’s investments have been in North Everett, which tends to have better walking and biking routes, as well as access to water and riverfronts,” she said. “South Everett, in the meantime, has one of the most beautiful, but underutilized lakes in the region: Silver Lake.”
Construction costs of the trail are anticipated at approximately $900,000.
The city’s parks and community services staff described the design for the path to the Everett City Council in a presentation on February 17, detailing that the city intends to construct paths on the north and west sides of the lake, connecting them with existing sidewalks and trails dispersed around the lake
The addition of the proposed trail in the Silver Lake Trail project will complete a two-mile loop around the lake, with the trail’s width ranging between 5 and 10 feet, depending on the area.
In January, some Silver Lake neighbors, the residents of Ibberson Drive, expressed concerns about a portion of the property the city planned to use for the trail through Ibberson Drive, claiming the access is private. They also expressed the potential to attract crime and unlawful parking of vehicles on the narrow street, making it difficult to navigate the road.
Everett Parks and Facilities Manager Cory Rettenmeier announced on March 19 the removal of the area’s design from the project but stated that the city has a right to proceed with construction in the area in the following years. City staff is hopeful that residents of Ibberson Drive will join other Silver Lake residents and trail users in supporting the project, said Rettenmeier.
“The city understands that residents desire more communication specific to these proposed trail segments,” he said. “There will be communication and discussion prior to any decision being made in the future regarding these trail segments.”
For more information about the Silver Lake trail, visit the project’s website here.