Everett wants neighborhood group for part of Evergreen Way

EVERETT — The city of Everett plans to convene a group of residents and business owners to discuss ideas for improving a stretch of Evergreen Way.

The so-called stakeholders group would draw its members from the area between 50th Street SE and Madison Street. That’s the same part of Everett where the city plans to build an apartment building for chronically homeless people.

“There are four neighborhood groups in that area so we don’t want to overlap what they’re doing,” city communications director Meghan Pembroke said.

“What we’re really looking for is people who are committed to doing it for the long term,” she said.

The housing project has drawn criticism from the neighborhood, and some people still are attempting to stop it from being located on the city’s property on Berkshire Drive.

But the debate over the housing project also has drawn attention to other issues along that commercial corridor, including crime, pedestrian safety, traffic, economic development, landscaping and community engagement.

The city has hired a facilitator who also speaks Spanish, Pembroke said, and the hope is that the group eventually will sustain itself on its own momentum. The city likely will still maintain a presence in the group, as it does for a similar group centered on improvements around Smith Avenue.

She also said that the city would coordinate with Catholic Housing Services, the nonprofit building the homeless housing project, and that the stakeholders group might evolve into a long-term liaison role between the organization and the community. Catholic Housing has said it intends to have community meetings of its own to focus specifically on the new project.

If the group of residents and business owners comes up with recommendations for action or other projects, city staff would be on hand to offer guidance.

“Some of them may be just connecting people with resources that already exists, some may be things that fall more into the city’s realm, particularly when you’re talking about pedestrian or traffic changes,” Pembroke said.

People who sign up to participate in the discussions will be contacted by city staff over the summer to solicit ideas, possibly one-on-one or in small groups, Pembroke said. Formal meetings would take place in the fall.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Evergreen Way stakeholder group

To take part in discussions that might shape the future of central Evergreen Way, fill out an interest form on the city’s website at http://bit.ly/2qknOQJ or call 425-257-7115 to request a form by mail.

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