By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — For years in most Mukilteo parks, when people have visited in the early evenings on long summer days, they’ve been doing it illegally.
All parks in the city except for Lighthouse Park have been officially open only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., even though those summer days can stretch for hours on both sides of the day.
As of Saturday, the parks will be open dawn to dusk. The City Council approved the change on Monday.
While the rules have rarely been enforced during the summer, it made sense to make the change, city administrator Joe Hannan said.
“That’s consistent with the cities around us generally, and the county,” he said.
The change was prompted by the popularity of the new dog park along Fifth Street in Japanese Gulch, Hannan said.
The park opened in October. With the days now getting longer, more people have been using the park into the early evening.
The city plans soon to install new signs at the parks, though they might not be up in time for the change on Saturday, Hannan said.
The hours at Lighthouse Park will remain the same, for now: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Oct. 1 through April 30, and 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 1 through Sept. 30.
However, the city is considering changing the hours in part of the park to accommodate spillover parking in the evenings, Hannan said.
Patrons of Ivar’s and the Diamond Knot pub often park in Lighthouse Park when there’s no street parking available — sometimes well after 10 p.m.
“We’re making people illegal who are using the park there,” he said.
Police rarely issue tickets in those parking spaces during business hours, but Diamond Knot is expanding and when it reopens the demand will only be greater, Hannan said.
The city’s Parks and Arts Commission plans to study the issue and make a recommendation to the City Council, he said.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.