New benches and tables line the waterfront at a new park near the Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

New benches and tables line the waterfront at a new park near the Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Stop by to weigh in, dream about Mukilteo waterfront development

There’s an open house Wednesday to talk about the waterfront’s future. See the artist renderings of what can be, someday.

MUKILTEO — You might not have noticed, but there’s a new park by the waterfront.

Not just the parklet, that asphalt patch by Ivar’s, but a park.

The expansive, 1.25-acre city-owned park is between the ferry terminal holding lanes and the water, with the only access by a pedestrian path. For now, it’s a barebones park on gravel with benches and tables, funded by about $52,500 from federal American Rescue Plan Act money.

But it’s another step toward the goal for the waterfront to someday serve as a destination for eating, shopping, culture and recreation.

Someday.

Waterfront development is the topic of an open house hosted by the Port of Everett and city of Mukilteo from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdayat the Rosehill Community Center.

The port and the city are partnering to create a unified vision and guiding principles for development on what is now barren space.

Not an easy task. The 26-acre waterfront has a mix of 10 private and public owners for the shoreline from Mukilteo’s Lighthouse Park to Edgewater Beach Park.

As Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber has previously put it: “There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.”

Preliminary artist rendering shows what the 26-acre Mukilteo waterfront could look like in the future. (Artist rendering)

The cooks were brought together at an open house in May 2022 that was a similar format for this upcoming gathering, where people can ask questions and get updates from officials.

Preliminary artist renderings show what could be to come: a vibrant, stylish waterfront bustling with dining, lounging and playing. It’s a long way from what is there now.

“This is a complex waterfront, and it’s going to be a major team effort to get it redeveloped in a timely manner,” Lefeber said in an email. “At this juncture, we welcome the community to see how their feedback has been brought to life through imagery to ensure we are rowing in the right direction at this early stage.”

She defined “timely manner” as: “Best case scenario, working in partnership, we could see the waterfront fully planned, entitled and ready for market in two years. Phased build out would follow. It would be too premature to share a timeline for development until the necessary planning phases are complete.”

Mukilteo City Council member Tom Jordal, who is on the waterfront committee, said working with the Port of Everett “leverages their resources and ours.”

“We want to have a pretty wide promenade from the ferry to the Silver Cloud, and along that to have some park space and restaurants and then do some public gathering areas,” Jordal said. “We are trying to view that as one continuous area.”

Preliminary artist rendering shows a street view of what the 26-acre Mukilteo waterfront could look like in the future. (Artist rendering)

Parking, of course, is another hot topic, with talk of a structure of some sort on the city-owned property behind Diamond Knot Brewery, Jordal noted.

The new ferry terminal that opened nearly three years ago set the stage for development. The building’s longhouse form, a collaboration with Coast Salish tribes, has won state and national awards for design. For walk-on passengers, the overhead ramp is a huge step up from the rickety structure it replaced. It also has real restroom facilities for those in the vehicle holding lanes who can’t hold it.

A new fishing pier nearby is a popular spot for people to cast lines.

The Tulalip Tribes own the large fenced parcel of undeveloped land that once housed fuel tanks between the ferry terminal and Edgewater Beach Park.

At the other end, the former Mukilteo Research Station, a World War II-era barrack next to the Silver Cloud Inn, has been torn down. In 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration canceled plans to build a large modern facility when the bids were over budget. The port is regaining property ownership.

Preliminary artist rendering shows what the 26-acre Mukilteo waterfront could look like in the future. (Artist rendering)

Earlier this year, the port opened a 99-stall parking lot with overnight and longer term parking options on the former ferry holding lanes.

The new park is an interim fix. It doesn’t have shoreline access. No grills or playground equipment, either. But the views are spectacular and there is plenty of room to fly a kite. It rarely draws a crowd.

That might change in two years or 10.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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