The 26-acre Mukilteo waterfront is the topic of community outreach to develop a unified plan. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The 26-acre Mukilteo waterfront is the topic of community outreach to develop a unified plan. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Got ideas? 26-acre Mukilteo waterfront beckons improvement

There’s an open house on Thursday. See what’s on the drawing board so far from 11 landowners.

MUKILTEO — The waterfront changed dramatically with addition of the splashy new Mukilteo ferry terminal.

That was well over a year ago.

Little has changed since.

Much of the 26-acre waterfront is blighted, unwelcoming and inaccessible to the public.

For years, there has been endless talk about developing that prime real estate into a destination for eating, shopping, culture and recreation.

Now there’s even more talk — but this time with possible action in the forecast.

Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber said the goal is a unified plan among the mix of private and public owners for the shoreline from Mukilteo’s Lighthouse Park to the port’s Edgewater Beach.

“There are 11 different property owners throughout the Mukilteo waterfront,” Lefeber said. “There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.”

Rather than the 11 cooking in different directions, the port enlisted NBBJ, an architecture, planning and design firm.

“We partnered with the city of Mukilteo to embark on the project and hired NBBJ to establish a vision and guiding principles through a stakeholder group and public outreach that will guide development, assuming we are able to get to the next phase of the project,” Lefeber said.

The cooks want to hear from you and share their ideas.

An open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Rosehill Community Center. An online survey through May 26 is another option.

Want a sushi bar? A water slide? Kayak rental? Speak up.

“More than anything we want to get moving forward on it,” Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine said. “Discussion is a critical part. If we can get as many of the property owners all on one page, we know what we’re going to be doing. My fear was always that everybody was going to do their own little piece in a silo, and then we’ll see when it’s all done what we end up with.”

A big piece of the waterfront is the former Mukilteo Research Station, where a boarded-up World War II-era barrack stands. In 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration canceled plans to build a large modern facility when the bids were over budget. The port is regaining ownership of the 1.1-acre space between the Silver Cloud Inn and land owned by Mukilteo.

“We took it as an opportunity to say, ‘Let’s look at the whole waterfront, the projects and how we can develop a meaningful waterfront that meets all the goals,’” Lefeber said.

The new ferry terminal set the stage. It’s a showcase that has won state and national awards for design, and for passengers it’s a huge step up from the rickety structure it replaced. The building’s longhouse form was a collaboration with Coast Salish tribes and boasts tribal artwork. A new fishing pier is nearby.

A person walks their dogs along an undeveloped portion of the Mukilteo waterfront. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A person walks their dogs along an undeveloped portion of the Mukilteo waterfront. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Tulalip Tribes own a large portion of land that was once the fuel tank farm between the new terminal and Edgewater Beach. It is fenced for safety reasons.

Waterfront parking is a key issue.

“I would like to see some type of parking structure down there — rather than sprawling out the parking, stacking it so we can all kind of utilize one location,” Marine said.

All this takes time, likely years.

“My goal is to get some interim access while the planning process is underway,” Lefeber said.

That splotch of asphalt that paved over the former ferry approach ramp should soon look inviting.

The parklet, as it’s called, is an overlook for people to lean on the railing and soak in the view of Puget Sound and Whidbey Island.

Last summer, neighboring Ivar’s struck a deal with the port to use about half of the parklet for customers, but the outdoor dining experience was short-lived when the city shut it down due to permit hurdles.

This year, the permitting process is in place. The Port invested about $300,000 in parklet upgrades that will include benches, planters and nice bollards.

“We’re trying to do some decorative elements to make it look attractive as you come down (Highway) 525,” Lefeber said.

Ivar’s will use a portion of the space for diners and maintain the entire property.

“Everyone is rowing in the right direction,” Lefeber said.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Two Washington State ferries pass along the route between Mukilteo and Clinton as scuba divers swim near the shore Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ferry shuffle: Mukilteo, Edmonds riders can expect ‘loading delays’

For four weeks, Mukilteo sailings will be reduced by 34 cars and Edmonds by 20 cars, in boat swap due to ferry maintenance.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Freeland massage therapist charged with sex crimes

The judge set bail at $7,500 for the health care provider, who was accused of sexually assaulting two clients last year.

Lynnwood
Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

State Trooper Isaiah Oliver speaks to a BNSF worker at mile marker 31.7 as road closures and evacuations mount in response to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
As wildfires creep west of Cascades, county plans for next Bolt Creek

Wildfires are an increasing concern in Snohomish County. A new project aims to develop a better plan.

Everett High seniors, from left, Avery Thompson, Lanie Thompson, Melissa Rosales-Alfaro and Saron Mulugeta sit together in front of their school on Monday, May 20, 2024, in Everett, Washington. The group have called to question their district’s policy that does not permit graduates to decorate their mortarboards or graduation clothing. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
After student campaign, Everett schools allows custom graduation caps

“It’s a really good first step,” the Everett High School ASB president said. But the students still want relaxed rules for future classes.

People hang up hearts with messages about saving the Clark Park gazebo during a “heart bomb” event hosted by Historic Everett on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Future of historic Clark Park gazebo now in hands of City Council

On June 5, the Everett council is set to decide whether to fund removal of the gazebo. It could be stored elsewhere.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.