EVERETT — A long-delayed plan to acquire more property for the Everett Department of Parks and Recreation is inching forward.
Cemex began clearing and grading undeveloped property it owns across the street from its south Everett plant.
A development agreement dating from at least 1998 between the cement company and the city called for the company to transfer ownership of the property to the city’s parks department.
The 13-acre tract that now has the Phil Johnson Ballfields on it was the first parcel to change hands, in 2001.
“The other properties on that hillside were to be improved before the city would accept them,” said Allan Giffen, Everett’s planning director.
And that’s where things have remained since then.
Cemex owns about 61 acres on the south corner of Glendale Avenue and Sievers Duecy Boulevard that has mostly lain unused over the years, and the company hadn’t done much to prepare the properties for transfer.
Everett similarly hasn’t prepared a master plan for the site, nor does it have money in the budget to develop a new park right now.
“We haven’t been entirely focused on getting this resolved,” Giffen said. “It’s not at the top of our list and it’s not on the top of their list either.”
Officials from Houston-based Cemex USA were not available for comment.
It is estimated that it would cost $5 million to develop the property, said Executive Director Paul Kaftanski, who oversees the Department of Parks and Recreation.
That’s a rough estimate, however, it will be some time before the city could get to the work as the 20-year list of parks projects only includes the Cemex property as a future project.
“The first six years of that capital program heavily oriented toward repair and renovation,” Kaftanski said, citing a long list of turf replacement, modernization and other general maintenance needs.
“Even if we had $5 million tomorrow, there is no master plan for the site,” he said. That can’t even begin until the land is transferred to the city.
What changed is that Cemex has taken the first steps and applied for and received permits to clear and grade the properties.
That involved cutting down several trees high on the south slope of the tract.
In the intervening years, the trees had grown to block the views from the neighborhood immediately to the south of the vacant land.
That also was one of the conditions for transfer, Giffen said, so the city wouldn’t be responsible for taking down the trees later.
The next step will be for the company to stabilize the hillsides on the property, which rises above the boulevard and the ballfields.
There was no clear indication when that would happen, however.