County opens ‘front porch’

EVERETT – Nice weather, hundreds of smiles and a sense of gratitude for Navy sailors marked the opening day of Snohomish County’s new $1.4 million administration building plaza.

“I’m glad (the county) finally did this. It just turned out pretty well. I’m pretty happy about it,” said Denise Hayes of Everett.

On Saturday, about 2,200 people came to the plaza, which is being coined as the county’s new “front porch” for employees, customers and citizens who work at and visit Snohomish County’s downtown Everett campus on Wall Street.

The plaza opened to the public for the first time Saturday and hosted the Humanity’s Heroes community celebration, a homecoming event for the Everett-based USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Shoup, which recently returned from tsunami relief deployment in south Asia.

Sailors, their families and friends stood on the lawn of the plaza and enjoyed the cerebration.

“It’s a happy event rather than a sad event” like the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001,” said Dale Moses, the county’s campus project manager.

The plaza cost about $1.4 million and is part of the county’s $38.2 million campus renovation, which began in 2001, said Connie Lewis, communications coordinator for the project.

The plaza can accommodate up to 4,000 people and will serve as a welcome mat for major events, Moses said.

“It’s kind of fun, isn’t it? Good feeling of satisfaction,” Moses said, looking around the crowd.

The plaza includes small gardens, numerous benches, an outdoor amphitheater and a stage. It is surrounded by native trees and shrubs. Walkways from Oakes Avenue and Wall Street parking areas lead up to the county’s new administration building. A rain garden adds to the relaxing atmosphere of the new civic greenbelt.

“Lots of places to sit down. That’s nice,” said Heather Wilder of Arlington, whose husband is a cook on the Shoup.

The plaza is well designed for a big crowd, said Denise Hayes’ husband, Daren,

“It’s terraced. You have a good view,” he said.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

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