LAKE STEVENS — Planning continues for an overhaul of North Cove Park, part of an ongoing project to transform downtown Lake Stevens.
Local history buffs are concerned about what it could mean for the museum here.
Meanwhile, the final park plans and timeline are tied to Tuesday’s election and whether voters pass a $17 million bond to build a new Lake Stevens Library. The vision for North Cove includes a pavilion and plaza where the library and museum are.
The goal is to start work on the park this year, city administrator Gene Brazel said. The project would be done in phases, and would likely begin near the lake. A swim beach is part of the design.
“We want to continue to show progress,” Brazel said. “We’ve pretty well solidified the plan, the concept. We’re still working with user groups.”
One of those groups is the Lake Stevens Historical Society. The history museum and Grimm House, a restored historic home, are located at North Cove. The park plan places the Grimm House “a stone’s throw” from its current spot, Brazel said. But plans for the museum, which is expected to be relocated, have not been finalized.
“When the museum is open, we open the Grimm House, and it’s right across the driveway so we bring people on tours,” said Anita Kroeze, historical society president. “We don’t know how that would work if the museum is moved.”
The museum was built in the 1980s with donated funds, supplies and labor. It’s been set up so visitors feel as though they are walking along an old downtown street or boardwalk as they admire displays, Kroeze said. The boardwalk is crafted with wood from the Lundeen dance hall, and the doors are from the “Pink Palace” high school. If the city intends to tear down the building, Kroeze wants the historical society to help design a new space.
“No final decisions have been made on what buildings are going to be torn down … The North Cove Plan is still conceptual and very fluid,” Brazel said. “We definitely want (the historical society) to remain here. We’re good partners with them.”
The city and historical society are in the process of redoing leases for the museum and Grimm House. The house, built in the early 1900s, was donated to the society in 1987 and moved to city property at North Cove in 1998, according to city documents. Since 2000, the society has leased it from the city at no cost. That 18-year-lease is up.
City leaders are considering one-year leases on buildings at North Cove in preparation for upcoming changes at the park.
The library, located near the museum, could be moving soon. The $17 million bond measure would pay to build a new one in the Chapel Hill area. It needs 60 percent approval, and voter turnout of at least 3,118. The bond previously went to voters and won enough of the vote, but fell short for turnout.
“The vote with the library is a big part of this planning,” Brazel said. “If they pass their bond, they’ll be constructing a new building and that will give a timeline of when they’ll move. Then we can look at where the history museum would go and we can start constructing the pavilion.”
He said the park designs include nods to the area’s history: concrete stamped to look like a boardwalk, a tribute to the old Rucker Mill and possibly an art feature to remember the jumps that drew waterskiers to the lake. The veterans memorial also would be relocated within the park.
Though big changes are planned, Kroeze said she wants the flavor of old Lake Stevens to remain.
“Having things updated and modern, there’s a lot to say for that, but there’s a lot say for the old-fashioned, too,” she said. “People like to see how things were.”
Lake Stevens’ downtown planning efforts have been underway since 2016. The goal at North Cove is to provide more access to the lake, add event and open spaces, draw visitors and encourage businesses. City materials and videos about the project are online at lakestevensdowntown.com.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org