By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — It’s the public beach that no one can reach.
The city of Mukilteo is planning to build a path to Edgewater Beach, a small point of sand near the Everett-Mukilteo border.
The beach was designated for public use in 2008 by the Port of Everett when it opened the adjacent Mount Baker terminal, a pier that receives aircraft parts for Boeing. Parking spaces for the beach were installed.
The road that leads to Edgewater Beach, however, was cut off when a parking area for Sounder commuter trains opened that same year.
Since then, there’s been no way to reach the beach legally by land. The port pier lies to the east, the former Air Force tank farm is to the west and the railroad tracks border the beach to the south. Anyone who walks across those points is trespassing.
“I heard from a lot of citizens that it’s a waste to have a beautiful beach that is illegal to access,” Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said.
It’s hoped the path can be open by summer. The port, which owns the beach and surrounding property, is planning a $2.5 million rebuild of the road to the beach to open in the fall.
The state and Mukilteo are working with the port to receive parts of the tank farm — the state for the ferry terminal, the city for public access.
Once that’s complete, the city can proceed with the path, port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said.
Gregerson said the plan is to complete the transfer before summer so the path can be open by then.
The city has budgeted $50,000 for the project. The path would start at the former road crossing from Mukilteo Lane across the railroad tracks. That road also was closed when the Sound Transit parking area was built.
Instead of following the old road to Edgewater Beach, the path would go straight out to the water. That way the path would not conflict with the new road, Gregerson said.
A fence would be built to prevent access to port property until future uses are determined.
People would be able to walk along the water to the east to reach Edgewater Beach. Whether the beach to the west also would be open has yet to be determined, Mukilteo public works director Rob McGaughey said.
The city will have to get a permit from BNSF Railway for people to cross the tracks, he said. Many people already illegally cross the tracks to reach the Sounder train platform, so this would provide a way for pedestrians to legally get across the tracks, McGaughey said.
Gregerson said she knew the port was planning to rebuild the road but advocated the path to speed up public access.
“I wanted to get people out there right away,” she said.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on the project Jan. 21.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.