EVERETT — Everett is moving forward with plans for a paved trail around Silver Lake — minus a northern segment that residents contested.
Silver Lake Trail would span about two miles. Parts of it already are in place on the east, where sidewalks exist. Most of the work will be north and west of Everett’s 104-acre lake and through the city’s Thornton A. Sullivan Park.
The Everett City Council gave staff the green light Wednesday to seek bids for work through the park. City staff estimate construction of an asphalt trail, demolition of a building no longer in use, and storm drainage improvements will cost $840,000.
The work could wrap up by the end of the year.
“I’m happy to see this getting going,” said Councilmember Ben Zarlingo, who lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood. “I think it’s going to be a great amenity for community members.”
Mayor Cassie Franklin first proposed the project during her State of Everett address in January 2020. The pandemic forced the city to focus on emergency response, prompting layoffs and delaying some projects, including the trail.
Franklin revived the project last year. But the plans upset some residents on the north shore.
Initially the proposed trail included a spur from the park to Ibberson Drive and Silver Lake Road. About 30 homes are on the short loop road, south of Silver Lake Road. Several neighbors disputed the city’s right-of-way there, and city staff announced last year they wouldn’t pursue it as part of the project.
City leaders want to develop the trail around the lake to bolster public space access in an area with few other options. About a third of residents live more than a 10-minute walk to city parks and trails, according to the Parks Recreation and Open Space Plan adopted by the city in February.
In public comments, one person said they visit Seattle’s Green Lake because of its paved trail and wished Silver Lake had a similar feature.
“I don’t want to walk on the road,” the person wrote.
According to plan documents, the city council district in Silver Lake has the fewest capital projects and least investment in the past four years.
Scott Miller, 58, said he likes the trail project. But as an avid disc golfer who frequents the free nine-hole course at the lakeside park, he hopes the path is designed to preserve his weekly pastime, too.
The Everett area resident meets there at least once every weekend for the game that’s like golf but played with a disc. Silver Lake’s course has a bit of slope, some trees, and mountain and water views. It appeals to new and experienced players, he said.
“It’s a Goldilocks course for me,” Miller said. “There’s not another course around here I like any better.”
Aside from normal park maintenance, workers must tend to the disc golf course’s tee boxes and baskets, usually made of sturdy metal.
Playing nine holes can take him about 30 minutes, depending on the crowd ahead of him. He and his friend usually play two or three rounds.
The city’s 10-year parks capital program includes an estimated $1 million for Silver Lake Trail improvements. New construction impact fees, approved last year, could help pay for future improvements there. One possibility is a $9 million boardwalk trail around the lake.
Disc golf improvements at Sullivan Park could get an estimated $50,000.
Some residents said they worry about crime because of the trail. But trail advocates from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, based in Washington, D.C., say that generally doesn’t happen. Everett’s crime data for the stretch of Interurban Trail in the city don’t show abnormal issues.
The lake loop trail would be close to the Interurban Trail access point on the west side of I-5 at 112th Street SE, making it accessible regionally.
The building slated for demolition was once the homestead of Hans Bothne, a Norwegian immigrant who later opened and ran a resort on the lake. Bothne used pieces from the former YMCA, which burned down, to build that craftsman-style home, according to Historic Everett.
Councilmember Zarlingo asked city staff to consider saving those pieces for ceremonial use or display, if possible.
“It has some historic architectural elements” as one of, if not the oldest, houses near Silver Lake, Zarlingo said.