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Council update on the Future of the Mukilteo Waterfront Development Project

MUKILTEO, Wash., July 19, 2023—Council Vice-President Louis Harris and Councilman Tom Jordal, members of the Mukilteo Port of Everett Agreement Negotiating Team, provide the following update to the latest progress to the Waterfront Development Project.

As the City Council appointed liaisons to the Port of Everett we want to ensure that the process of partnering between the City of Mukilteo and the Port of Everett is one that edifies the vision and intent of the development of Mukilteo’s waterfront for residents. In preparation for the first meeting with the Port of Everett, of the port negotiation team, Council Vice President Harris, Councilmember Jordal, Mayor Marine, and City Administrator Powers, met to ensure that we were all in alignment with the purpose of partnering with the Port of Everett. Those conversations concluded that the purpose of partnering with the Port of Everett is to leverage the strengths of the port to support the expedient development of the Mukilteo Waterfront. The following highlights the outcomes of the first meeting with the Port of Everett.

mukilteo Waterfront Development
Mukilteo Waterfront Master Plan Study Area. SOURCE: Port of Everett

The Mukilteo community wants a vibrant waterfront with access to the water, walking trails, dining, culture, and a place to enjoy magnificent views of the sea, islands, and mountains. The community created the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan which was finalized in 2015. Since then, several components of the master plan have changed, whether due to feasibility, or due to changing ownership and interests. While this is the case the city still references the Waterfront Master Plan and uses it as a foundational document to direct the continued and changing development of the waterfront.

mukilteo Waterfront Development
One of the community engagement strategies asking Mukilteo residents for their vision for the waterfront redevelopment project in May of 2022. Photo credit: Kienan Briscoe | Lynnwood Times.

Since the opening of the new Washington State Mukilteo Ferry Terminal renewed vigor to complete the waterfront development has been prominent. Within the last two years the port has worked to re-coalesce energy and interest in the development of the Waterfront. This is what residents told us in responses from more than 800 people in the 2022 community survey. Beautification and development need to be economically feasible for the city, the port, and developers, while maximizing utility for the community with a long-term horizon.

Here are some of the focal points of the waterfront’s development:

  1. Lighthouse Park’s usefulness and beauty can be enhanced by expanding the grass and park space near the lighthouse to provide more space for walking, picnics, sports and playing. (WFMP)
  2. Due to the need to address parking on the waterfront, especially with the development of lighthouse park adding an aesthetically pleasing two- or three-story parking building behind Diamond Knot.
  3. Possibly changing the configuration and location of the boat launch to offset the reduction in surface parking.
  4. A mile long waterfront promenade from Lighthouse Park to Edgewater Park at the far east end of the Mukilteo waterfront will allow access to the beach, parks, play areas, shops and restaurants.
  5. Building out the area between the Silver Cloud and the ferry terminal with a promenade, retail and/or dining, and residential units on a second floor. This will provide access to the areas for beachcombing, scuba diving, public restrooms along with restaurants and potentially other retail services. This area could include public gathering spaces with family friendly features, perhaps a splash park, cultural exhibits or art. This area has about eight acres of waterfront currently owned about 50/50 by the City of Mukilteo and the Port of Everett. The Port of Everett is well suited to take the lead on a coherent development of this portion of the waterfront as they have expertise in waterfront projects and the ability to lease facilities to restaurants and
    other retailers. The city will control the character of the development to ensure it meets the community’s wishes including the promenade and public gathering spaces.
  6. Near Edgewater Beach includes two acres of waterfront owned by the Tulalip Tribes and about two acres of waterfront owned by the city of Mukilteo. The City has long planned to restore the creek and estuary to a more natural state and create an explorable estuary similar to the Meadowdale Beach park. The Tulalip Tribes are exploring options for clearing and cleaning up the site. Future uses will be dependent on the Tulalip Tribes.
  7. There’s potential for commercial and some limited residential space in the area behind Ivar’s. This could help to tie in various elements of the waterfront and enable it to become more of a year-round destination with community activities. The residential spaces will help to keep the area safe, especially in the evenings.
  8. Rebuilding of the 525 bridge over the train tracks (funded by Washington State), if done correctly, could facilitate connection of the water side of the railroad tracks with restaurants, businesses and the Rose Hill Community Center on the uphill side of the tracks.
mukilteo Waterfront Development
Mukilteo Waterfront Development Project Area. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

When will we see some progress? Meeting the waterfront’s parking needs is the first priority. Funding and design could take up to 24 months with permitting and construction further24 months. Yes, that’s a long time and the best way to finish sooner is for us to start sooner. The commercial development, which will include public spaces and a waterfront promenade, could get started around the same time pending City approvals.

By working together, we can deliver the waterfront you will enjoy and be proud of in a timely fashion.

Editor’s Note: Article updated at 5:51 p.m., July 19, 2023 to reflect a correction from “eight acres of land “Near Edgewater Beach includes eight acres of waterfront owned by the Tulalip Tribe” to “Near Edgewater Beach includes two acres of waterfront owned by the Tulalip Tribes”

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