For Mountlake Terrace, 2013 was a year of the old and the new, celebrations and heartbreaks, commonalities and surprises. Here are the top five stories in the city covered by MLTnews in the past year.
1) Another defeat for the proposed Civic Center and a five-year commitment to interim City Hall
Proposition 1, a $25 million capital bond measure that would have funded a new civic center for Mountlake Terrace, failed to receive a necessary 60 percent yes vote in April, the third time since 2010 that voters have turned down funding plans to build a new city hall and adjoining city facilities. While 53.4 percent of city voters supported the measure last spring, that percentage was actually down from a 56.83 percent yes vote on an identical ballot measure in August 2012.
The Proposition 1 defeat in April has slowed any momentum city officials were feeling towards getting a new city hall built in the next couple years on city-owned land at 58th Avenue West and 232nd Street Southwest. In December, the Mountlake Terrace City Council gave its OK to a five-year lease extension for office space currently utilized as interim City Hall. The agreement calls for City of Mountlake Terrace offices to remain on the second floor of the Redstone II Building, 6100-219th St. S.W., until July 2019.
2) The opening of Arbor Village and groundbreaking of the Vineyard Park project
After years of city planning, Mountlake Terrace finally saw the opening of a project that may prove to be a precursor of further development throughout the Town Center District.
The five-story mixed-use Arbor Village complex at 56th Avenue West and 236th Street Southwest opened the doors to its 123 upper floor apartments in August. By the end of December, only 33 of the residential units remained unoccupied.
The building also includes space for eight commercial tenants on the ground floor. The only business space committed at this point is a 1,250-square-foot suite that will be leased to a new beauty salon; renovation of the space is expected to begin in January.
In December, crews began construction of a four-story mixed-use complex at the north border of the Town Center District at 56th Avenue West and 230th Street Southwest. The Vineyard Park assisted living project is scheduled to be completed in early 2015.
The two new additions to the Mountlake Terrace downtown area will serve as bookends for what city officials hope will be continued mixed-use development along 56th Avenue West between 230th and 236th Streets Southwest, then eventually stretching west along 236th Street to I-5 and south on 56th Avenue West to the King-Snohomish County border at 244th Street Southwest.
Tragedy struck twice on Mountlake Terrace streets in 2013 as two local residents lost their lives in accidents.
Jerry Bennett, 72, was killed on May 24 after the van he was driving was struck at the intersection of 212th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West by another van, driven by a 42-year-old woman fleeing Lynnwood police. As a result of the incident, Shellie Rose Collins was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder; Collins is currently serving that sentence at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.
Daniel Ecklund, 19, died as a result of injuries sustained on Aug. 30 when the Brier man rode a longboard into traffic at 235th Place Southwest and 39th Avenue West. Ecklund collided with a utility trailer being pulled by a truck; the driver of the truck was not cited in the incident.
The accident led to an outcry among residents near the intersection for changes to be made there. City officials began studying traffic patterns at the intersection soon after the incident, but it is unknown if any alterations will result from the studies.
Voters in both Mountlake Terrace and Brier had opportunities to radically change the make-up of the city’s two governing councils this year as Mountlake Terrace had five of its seven city council posts on the November general election ballot, while four of the seven positions in Brier, plus the mayoral post, were up for grabs in the November vote. And in each of those 12 races, the outcome was the same: the incumbent was re-elected.
Despite a small yet vocal opposition to city policies in both communities, current elected officials in Mountlake Terrace and Brier proved to have strong support among voters. Mountlake Terrace Councilmember and Mayor Jerry Smith and Councilmember Rick Ryan didn’t even draw an opponent on the ballot, while Councilmembers Kyoko Matsumoto Wright, Bryan Wahl and Doug McCardle won their races handily.
In Brier, incumbent Councilmembers Marc Olsen, Martin Krienke, Mike Gallagher and John Joplin all ran unopposed, while Mayor Bob Colinas easily outdistanced challenger Adam Gregorich with more than 71 percent of the vote.
5) Successful outings for Mountlake Terrace High School teams, athletes
The student-athletes of Mountlake Terrace High School enjoyed record success in 2013, as a number of the school’s teams and competitors achieved goals at the highest of state levels.
The MTHS boys basketball team completed its run at the WIAA 3A State Basketball Championships in March with a fourth-in-state finish. Also qualifying for state tournaments were (in the spring) the baseball and softball teams, and (in the fall) both the boys and girls cross country teams.
Hawk athletes also reached state in many individual sports in 2013, including tennis, swimming, golf and wrestling.
In November, the Terrace football team qualified for postseason play for just the fourth time in school history, all just in the past five years. The effort to reach a spot in this fall’s 3A quad-districts was especially satisfying for Coach Tony Umayam and his staff considering the lost of their top player even before the season started. Senior Devante Downs tore an ACL last June and missed the entire 2013 season. Downs has been rehabilitating the injured knee and says he is ready for his next challenge, playing for the University of California Golden Bears beginning in 2014.
— By Doug Petrowski