EVERETT — Snohomish County is close to buying its first parkland under a $70 million settlement with King County that allowed construction of the Brightwater sewage treatment plant in Maltby.
The Snohomish County Council has approved proposals to spend more than $800,000 to buy 11 acres of wooded properties on Highway 9 using some of the settlement money. The deals are scheduled to close in December.
The two adjacent properties could someday have trails and picnic shelters alongside preserved forest that will help the regional Little Bear Creek watershed, county parks director Tom Teigen said.
The properties already include open space and wildlife habitat, Teigen said. “It’s virtually a park site already,” he said.
As soon as the sale is final, Teigen said the county plans to discuss where to put in gates and how to design the best way for the public to get into the park.
In 2005, Snohomish County negotiated three payments totaling $70 million to offset the impacts of having King County’s sewage treatment plant built in Maltby. The money must be spent to improve parks, walkways and roads around Maltby.
Snohomish County planners approved King County’s final Brightwater construction permit last month, and work is under way on many pieces of the $1.7 billion sewage treatment plant. A tunnel boring machine is digging from Bothell to Maltby as it carves part of the 13-mile path for wastewater pipes leading to Puget Sound.
King County paid Snohomish County $17.5 million once the permit was approved. It was the second of three settlement payments from King County.
Snohomish County got a $33.5 million payment last year. The county is scheduled to receive another $16.05 million within 11 months. A $2.95 million community center also is being built at the 114-acre site on Highway 9.
Buying property is the first of many steps the county plans for parks and wetland preservation, County Council chairman Dave Gossett said.
“Clean water is a very important thing, dealing with surface water runoff, protecting Little Bear Creek and the salmon run within that creek is extremely important,” Gossett said. “These kinds of purchases work for all three.”
Snohomish County is scheduled to receive $70 million from King County to mitigate its Brightwater sewage treatment plant. A settlement shows the money will be spent on:
Parks and trails: $30.4 million for three parks, including a 40-acre site.
Public safety improvements: $25.85 million for paved paths and wider roadway shoulders.
Forest preservation and habitat: $10.8 million for Little Bear and Cutthroat creeks.
Community center: $2.95 million.
The settlement between the counties is online at www.snoco.org; enter “Brightwater” in the search box.