EVERETT – Light rail, high-speed passenger ferries to Seattle, an arts district and a four-year university should be part of Everett’s landscape by 2025, a report by the city’s vision team recommends.
Vowing not to let the study gather dust on a City Hall shelf, Mayor Ray Stephanson is instructing city staff to begin studying how to implement the plan, dubbed Vision 2025. The vision team will meet every year to see how much progress has been made.
“This is much more than a wish list,” Stephanson said. “I want this to be a living document. What this vision statement gives us is a road map, and you need a road map to know where you’re going.”
The main obstacle to making the vision a reality is money, the mayor said. Much of the money could come from the federal and state governments, he said. Other funds might come from city bond measures. And money for a light rail system could come from a future Sound Transit ballot measure, Stephanson said.
Now is the time for Everett to make big plans, said Reid Shockey, chairman of the vision team and a former city planning director. The city is on a roll as downtown continues to revitalize around the Everett Events Center, the Boeing Co. prepares to assemble its 787 jetliner here, and the city readies prime riverfront property for development, he said.
“I moved here in 1970, and for the first 25 years, it was just Everett sitting in place, as it always had been,” Shockey said.
“In the past 10 years, Everett has really taken off, and people are feeling enough confidence in who we are as a community that we can be bold in defining what we want to be.”
Big-ticket initiatives such as light rail ultimately will pay off, Shockey said. He pointed to the economic development spurred by Sound Transit’s 1.6-mile light rail system in Tacoma, which opened in 2003.
The report doesn’t propose a specific rail route but recommends linking Everett’s harbor, downtown, Everett Station and the riverfront. That jibes with the city’s hope to attract more housing in and near downtown, Stephanson said.
The high-speed ferries to Seattle would offer commuters a quicker way to get to work than I-5, and also a way to avoid expensive Seattle parking garages, Stephanson said. The report further recommends ferries to Clinton, Langley and Camano Island.
All the pieces of Vision 2025 fit together, said Janet Prichard, a vision team member and marketing director for Perteet Engineering in Everett.
An arts district and other improved cultural offerings would appeal to professors and other staff from the four-year university the city is trying to attract, she said.
Locating a university here would stop the “brain drain” that forces young people from Everett to go elsewhere for a degree, most never to return. Keeping people here provides a ready work force for biotechnological companies and other businesses that Everett is trying to attract, Prichard said.
The report is a draft and will be revised based on input from residents and city officials, Stephanson said. The city plans three open houses on the plan in the next two weeks.
The mayor created the 32-member committee in 2004.
Reporter David Olson: 425-339-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vision 2025 open houses
Everett plans three open houses on Vision 2025:
* 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Anderson Room at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave.
* 6:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Walter E. Hall Golf Course clubhouse, 1226 W. Casino Road.
Send written comments on Vision 2025 to Kathy Davis at email@example.com or to the City of Everett, Planning and Community Development Department, 2930 Wetmore Ave., Suite 8A, Everett, WA 98201. Comments will be taken until March 15. The report is available on the city’s Web site, www.everettwa.org.