Marysville to buy old Welco Lumber site on Ebey Slough

MARYSVILLE — The city of Marysville has entered into a contract to buy the old Welco Lumber mill site adjacent to I-5 on the Ebey Slough waterfront.

A joint appraisal put the value of the property at $2.78 million, although the city is evaluating and testing the soil on the site before a deal can be finalized.

It could take up to a year for those environmental studies to wrap up, said Gloria Hirashima, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer.

“The joint appraisal assumed the property is not contaminated and free of hazardous substances,” Hirashima said.

The 4.9 acre site was used as a lumber mill until 2007, when the housing construction industry took a downturn and the mill was shuttered.

It had been operational since the 1960s and at one time had about 150 employees.

More recently, the old mill has been the site of homeless encampments and several suspicious fires, along with other code violations.

“I remember somebody was skateboarding on the roof and fell,” Hirashima said.

Welco Lumber, working with the city, has since installed more lighting on the property and removed flammable debris, including the lower portions of the walls of the largest structure, which had been used as fire fuel.

“We haven’t had anything since two years ago when everyone got together and came up with a plan to eliminate many of the nuisances,” said Marysville Fire Marshal Tom Maloney.

Most of the other buildings on the site have been dismantled, and the site is now being used to store construction equipment for road crews, Maloney said.

The purchase would come as the city has been ramping up its waterfront development.

The mill site lies sandwiched between I-5 and the Geddes Marina, which the city purchased in 2010.

This year the Tulalip Tribes breached the levees at the Qwuloolt Estuary, restoring tidal influence to nearly 400 acres at the mouth of Allen and Jones creeks.

The city is anticipating that in the coming year it will complete 1.8 miles of paved trail leading from Ebey Waterfront Park to the estuary on the west side of the levee breach and from Harborview Park to the breach on the east side.

Hirashima said the city would be looking at the site for variety of uses, including widening First Street, building a stormwater treatment facility, or putting in another park or trail.

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

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