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Smokey Point may get its own Terrace Park
ARLINGTON The last remaining forest in downtown Smokey Point could be saved if Arlington City Council approves a proposed agreement between the Smokey Point Association and the city.
The association owns 1.2 wooded acres between Smokey Point Drive and Smokey Point Boulevard, behind Alfys Pizza and the Stillaguamish Tribes offices, and they have proposed deeding it over to the city as a future park that would also serve as a storm water retention area.
Comprised of property owners of the mall that houses the Buzz Inn Restaurant and Cycle Barn among other storefronts, the strip mall was first developed by Ralph and Mary Ann Monty, Fred Poynter and others in the 1970s and the central tracts were then designated for open space and a common area, according to Marc Hayes.
We tried to acquire the property in 2003, but the owners were not ready, said Hayes, the citys code enforcement officer who faced the challenge of dealing with other issues around the small forest in recent years.
I have been working on ways to clean up the mess left by drug users in the woods there and felt inclined toward saving the grove of trees, Hayes said.
One of the property owners, Nathan Chapman of the Northwood Group, said the proposal evolved in some ways out of his efforts to build another building in the neighborhood. His 14,000- square-foot Centerpoint West was nearing completion when city officials discovered it was built two feet too low, at a similar level with the other, older buildings.
All of us in the association have had some drainage problems, Chapman said.
This [potential park] project turned out to be a solution that is good for all of us, Chapman said. He explained that his project is using all pervious concrete so water runoff is not an issue, but there are concerns for the neighborhood.
Some of it has to do with maintenance, but we are very low here, Chapman said.
His new building, which is nearly completed, will be home to about six new tenants with retail space on the ground floor and offices upstairs.
Hayes and the citys natural resource manager and Assistant Community Development Director Bill Blake called together several city departments to talk with the property owners to come up with the proposal that could benefit all involved. They recruited public works to review flooding issues and economic development to consider the idea of a park to enhance the community, and have since come up with the plan to turn the wooded area into a city park that would also serve in storm-water management.
In negotiating the possible deeding over of the 1.2 acres of wooded property, the city is considering certain conditions.
We are committed to removing the brush and some of the deciduous trees as well as lowering the ground level where possible, Hayes said, adding those would be the most immediate tasks within six months of striking a deal.
We would continue maintenance and have three years to build sidewalks and put in benches.
Both Hayes and Chapman agree its a win-win deal for all involved.
The proposed 1.2-acre park would eliminate the attraction to the renegades who have been using the woods for their own pleasure and it would help capture stormwater runoff. The new open park would provide a beautiful gathering place for tenants, customers and the community to enjoy.
We have a few more documents to sign, but the association is in agreement, Chapman said.
City Council, too, has a few more questions about the proposal and will discuss it further at next Mondays workshop, starting at 7 p.m. March 24.