Snohomish hopes tourists will dock and stay awhile

SNOHOMISH — A new boat dock proposed at Kla Ha Ya Park could change the way people in the city enjoy the Snohomish River.

The $300,000 project would give people access to the waterfront at the park near the city’s historic downtown. The dock also aims to bring boating tourists from Everett. Those tourists may walk up a trail along the river and shop in the downtown.

The City Council considers the dock a priority. As city officials are creating the city’s 2008 budget over the next few months, the city is considering earmarking $10,000 for designing the boat dock, said Ann Stanton, the city’s project manager.

The project has generated support among downtown business owners.

“The river is an asset that we have for the downtown,” said Joshua Scott, president of Historic Downtown Snohomish.

The group of downtown business owners has already agreed to pitch in $10,000 for the design of the dock, Scott said.

The city also plans to seek federal and state grants for the project, Stanton said. The dock could be complete in 2010.

In addition to downtown businesses, fishermen and tour-boat operators have expressed interest in the project, Stanton said. Large boats can travel on the river between Everett and Snohomish, she said. Tides and a bridge on Airport Way in Snohomish may limit the height of boats that can navigate the river, depending on the time and season.

The new dock would be removable and stored during high-water seasons.

The dock is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to improve the waterfront and promote tourism in downtown. The city built a new visitor information center in downtown in 2005. It renovated the Riverfront Trail along the river near Kla Ha Ya Park in 2006; the project cost the city about $2.5 million. And city officials and business people are trying to have the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train come to the city.

Taking advantage of the scenic river is nothing new in Snohomish, which was named the first county seat of Snohomish County in 1861. For many years, the river carried people and timber, helping the city’s economy thrive. There used to be a boat dock at Kla Ha Ya Park until a storm washed it away in the 1980s.

The city has neglected its riverfront, City Councilman Larry Countryman said. It’s about the time for the city to reconnect with the river.

“There are still a lot of things that could be done to improve the looks down there,” said Countryman, 66, who grew up in Snohomish.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

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