MUKILTEO — The mayor said the swap seemed like a good idea at the time.
Move the city’s Chamber of Commerce and visitor center from a nondescript building on an inconvenient side street to the lighthouse at the waterfront.
Move the Mukilteo Historical Society, which occupies the lightkeeper’s quarters, to the current Chamber office.
The proposed switch resulted in outcry at a March City Council meeting and a letter writing campaign to local newspapers from those opposed.
“One of the finest examples of political shenanigans that I have witnessed in nearly 40 years in Mukilteo,” said one letter.
Said another. “… hands off our historical properties!”
Mayor Joe Marine told The Daily Herald he didn’t understand why those opposed “chose the nuclear option.”
“It’s certainly not the response I expected,” he said. “It was supposed to be, ‘Thank you, this is great.’ That’s the way I looked at it.”
The city owns the properties where both groups are housed.
“I was approached by the Chamber,” Marine said. “They were saying it would be great to have a presence down on the waterfront.”
He liked the idea of having them in the lighthouse, the city’s crown jewel.
Lighthouse Park has a walking path, playground, boat launch, fire pits and festivals. It is near Diamond Knot Brewing Company, Ivar’s, the parklet and a new 99-stall parking lot. The area draws ferry traffic, locals and tourists.
The Chamber office is up the hill at 4902 76th St. SW, across from Olympic View Middle School and 1½ miles from the action.
“We are supportive of the Chamber having new digs in the waterfront,” said Joanne Mulloy, Historical Society president.
But not their digs of the last 24 years.
“We are stewards of Mukilteo history and interpret maritime history for visitors and the community,” she said. “This was the original intent for the use of the property when it was gifted to the city.”
On Thursday, Marine wrote a letter to the Historical Society and the Chamber.
“From the beginning, this was only something I was interested in moving forward with if all were on board,” he wrote.
“It is now clear the Historical Society does not have interest in moving forward with this idea. With this knowledge in mind, I will not be proceeding with the swap of office locations.”
He concluded: “That is in the past now, and I am hopeful we can move forward.”
Said Mulloy, “I feel the same way. I look forward to working with the Chamber and the mayor.”
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterbrown.
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