MLT seeking county money for potential park land, open space purchases

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MLT business owner Tom Walker welcomes discussions with the city regarding the possible purchase of land he owns next to the Interurban Trail and the Nelson Business Park along Hall Creek
MLT business owner Tom Walker welcomes discussions with the city regarding the possible purchase of land he owns next to the Interurban Trail and the Nelson Business Park along Hall Creek

Mountlake Terrace city officials are eyeing four parcels of land — three alongside Hall Creek and the Interurban Trail, and one next to Lyon Creek and Terrace Creek Park — for possible purchase and use as green space and parkland.

The city’s Public Works Department submitted two grant applications to the Snohomish County Conservation Futures Program last month seeking a portion of approximately $25 million to be distributed countywide for the purpose of purchasing land for open space and park property. The funds are the result of a recent bond sale by the county. Jurisdictions receiving funds for land acquisitions will be notified in mid-October.

The three parcels that Mountlake Terrace officials are looking to purchase along Hall Creek are in the Nelson Business Park south of 220th Street Southwest and just northwest of Creekside Church, 7011-226th Place S.W. The large parcel of land sought by the city adjacent to Terrace Creek Park sits at the west end of 228th Street Southwest just west of 48th Avenue West.

There are currently no buildings located on any of the parcels of land being targeted by the city.

“We’ve been working with both the property owners and Snohomish County,” said City Manager John Caulfield, “and if we can obtain the funding we’ll be able to secure those properties for conservation purposes and incorporate them into our park system.”

One of the parcels in the Nelson Business Park targeted for purchase is owned by Tom Walker, who also owns a business and other parcels of land in and around the business park. Walker has been contacted by city officials regarding a possible purchase of the land he owns and said he welcomes the discussions with the city.

Walker and other business owners in the area report incidents of homeless encampments on the undeveloped parcels of land along Hall Creek. He also said the property is sometimes used as getaway routes for criminal activity occurring on nearby Highway 99. Walker hopes that a purchase of his parcel and two others targeted by the city will lead to the land being maintained, and even utilized, in a way that more closely resembles city park space.

“I just want it to be a win-win situation for everybody,” Walker said.

While Walker and city officials have talked about a possible land purchase by the city, no sale price has been discussed. “I’d be willing to go at assessed value,” Walker said.

Funds from the Snohomish County Conservation Futures Program can only be used to make land purchases from willing owners; jurisdictions cannot cite public domain laws in order to obtain the potential park land in this program.

A seven-person Snohomish County Conservation Futures Program Advisory Board will make recommendations on how to distribute the $25 million available for land purchases this year; final decisions on how the funds are allocated are made by the Snohomish County Council.

— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski

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