LAKE STEVENS — The future of downtown Lake Stevens should include better lake access, new shops and eateries, hundreds more homes, connected trails and wider streets.
That’s according to a 71-page downtown plan adopted unanimously by the Lake Stevens City Council Tuesday. The city has been working on the plan for two years.
The area covered by the plan spans about 200 acres, centered near the intersections of 20th Street NE, Main Street and Hartford Drive NE.
The ideas that form the backbone of the plan include rebuilding Main Street, redoing North Cove Park and improving retail opportunities, community development director Russ Wright said.
“It’s going to be such a transformative project for the city,” he said.
“It’s not just a plan that goes on the shelf. We’re proactively working on it.”
An overhaul and expansion of North Cove Park is under way to increase lake visibility and access. Work also has started on redesigning Main Street, Wright said.
The city is angling for more businesses, multifamily housing and a community and conference center. A breakdown in the plan calls for up to 600 housing units, more than 240,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and 300 parking spaces once downtown is redeveloped.
Apartments or condominiums could fit along stretches of 123rd Avenue NE, 22nd Street NE, Main and 18th streets. Buildings with businesses on the ground floor and housing above are encouraged.
The roads need work, according to the plan. Access to downtown relies on two-way streets with limited space for pedestrians or bicyclists.
Among the proposals is connecting the Centennial Trail to downtown with off-street paths and on-street bicycle lanes.
The document also outlines changes to Grade Road that would make it the primary route to downtown. There would be “a continuous tree-lined boulevard from Highway 92 to Main Street.” The road would need to be widened and realigned in places. Other streets would be redone to support more storefronts and options for pedestrians or bicyclists.
Road improvements could total nearly $40 million and likely would be spaced out over the next decade, according to planning documents. The city anticipates that funding would come from grants, mitigation fees and developer contributions, which could include construction of improvements in lieu of fees.
The plan talks about investing public dollars and city staff time to “prime the pump” for private buy-in.
To make way for downtown redevelopment, and to centralize city services, a new civic campus is planned in the Chapel Hill area. The old City Hall has been torn down and services are housed in temporary buildings at North Cove until a permanent location is ready.
Meanwhile, the police station is set to move to Chapel Hill in the next couple of years. The City Council on Tuesday approved a $1.13 million contract with architecture firm Mackenzie to design a police building. The goal is to finish the station by August 2020.
People have expressed concern about the effect the downtown redesign could have on landmarks such as the Lake Stevens History Museum or the veterans memorial.
“The city has been extremely public in saying that we will work with the (American) Legion, our own veterans commission and the historical groups on the location of the existing downtown amenities,” Wright said.
The downtown plan features a dedication in memory of Frank McDaniel, who owned the Lake Stevens Mini Mart and served as a commissioner for the sewer district. He could be seen most afternoons walking along Main Street between his business and the bank and post office. He’d stop to talk with folks along the way. McDaniel died in March.
“Frank’s daily stroll is an iconic example of what an active downtown can and should be, connecting people, places and businesses together,” the dedication reads. “As Main Street is redeveloped, the path that Frank walked for so many years, will be named in his honor and be known as Frank’s Way, as a reminder for residents and visitors to stroll through their community, strike up a conversation and enjoy simple things in a busy world.”
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.