After reading the most recent article about development in Japanese Gulch, pitting industry vs. greenery, my initial reaction was predictably, “Why don’t those @#$! Californians take their industrial park and shove it? Then I began to wonder.
Why has local support of the gulch failed to protect it as open space? The Herald reports runners, cyclists and hikers have spent years encouraging conservation to leaders. Mukilteo City Councilman Kevin Stoltz supports open space at the gulch. Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and Everett City Council President Drew Nielsen both said they would prefer a preserved gulch, but they aren’t willing to commit any money.
It seems that both citizenry and elected officials are aware of the gulch’s park-like status.
So why is our community, yet again, wondering how yet another developer can chop out 55 acres of open space for an industrial park?
Then it hit me. Stephanson, Nielsen, Stoltz, et al., are no different than the long list of politicos before them who supported preservation, yet did nothing to protect the gulch. And why would they? The constituency has been served with a large, multi-use park for 30 years, for free.
Residents of Everett and Mukilteo have used the open, private land as a park, without a dime being spent toward preservation or maintenance. That said, the gulch’s status remains clear to anybody who has wandered the expansive trail network or paused to observe a little wild in the midst of urbanity.
Now comes the time to pay the price for the community’s adoption of the gulch. Unfortunately, it seems that the current political establishment is, like its predecessors, just not interested in committing any money. No, it seems that the community will pay the price with yet another loss of open space to yet another industrial park.