Stanwood seeks input on new Stillaguamish riverfront park

STANWOOD — Work to transform the Stillaguamish riverfront in downtown Stanwood continues with plans for new parks, paths, docks and a boat launch.

A month ago, planners wanted thoughts on plans for Ovenell Park, a former dairy not far from Stanwood City Hall.

Now, they’re asking people to weigh in on Hamilton Park, less than a mile upriver. The parks are off Highway 532 along the Stillaguamish.

An open house is scheduled for Tuesday at City Hall, 10220 270th Street NW. There’s no formal presentation and people can stop by between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to look at designs and ask questions.

The city bought the 2-acre former Hamilton Lumber Mill and the 15-acre former Ovenell Dairy Farm for $2 million in 2014. Most of the money came from the Snohomish County Conservation Futures program, with the city paying $300,000 and Hamilton Family Properties donating $236,000 worth of their property.

The most dramatic feature at Hamilton Park is a 150-foot smokestack built in 1927. Volunteers with the local Lions club have been decorating the smokestack with holiday lights since 1995 and plan to continue doing so with permission from the city. The smokestack is a landmark in Stanwood and the lights — different colors and shapes for holidays throughout the year — have become a tradition.

There also is a boat launch on the Hamilton property. It’s described in city documents as primitive.

Sketches of what the park could be in the future include a restored dock and nonmotorized boat launch, picnic areas, parking and a boardwalk around the shoreline, wetlands and smokestack. The property has views of Port Susan Bay, Camano Island and the Olympic Mountains. It’s an access point to the marine estuary where the freshwater Stillaguamish River meets saltwater in Port Susan Bay.

Eventually, planners hope to put in trails connecting the parks to each other and to the rest of downtown Stanwood.

The City Council last year voted to work with Camano Island consultant Theresa Metzger of Iris Consulting on designing Ovenell Park. They recently added Hamilton Park planning to the $19,000 contract.

An advisory committee is taking public comments on the park design and plans to submit a plan to the Stanwood Planning Commission and City Council in June.

People who can’t attend the open house Tuesday still can send in comments by emailing riverparks@ci.stanwood.wa.us.

More information is online at ci.stanwood.wa.us/parksrec.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

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