It's been very busy around here at nextMLT HQ lately with the various Mountlake Terrace committees and commissions that I'm a part of. If you follow nextMLT on Facebook or Twitter you've been getting more updates than on the web site lately, mostly because it's been much easier to fire off a quick photo or update on social media than to find the time to sit down and write a post here.
For those who mostly follow along here on the website or through the email newsletter I do want to update you on a few things.
City Hall Process
As you may know I'm on the City's City Hall Advisory Committee. We have met a few times now and are still hoping to come up with a plan to present to Council in June and hopefully get on a ballot this November. The City is currently negotiating a scope and fee with ARC Architects, who will help the committee in developing a conceptual design and cost estimate based on the space needs of the City and input from the public. What we have been hearing so far from residents who have voted no in the past is that past proposals were too expensive and there was a lack of opportunity early on the process for the public to get involved. We hope to address both those issues this time around. At this week's meeting we discussed having several larger public meetings that would be facilitated by ARC and than many smaller gatherings around town with a few CHAC members so that we can get as much input as possible. We should be finalizing some of these dates and locations at our next meeting on February 23.
Sound Transit Light Rail Planning
Another committee that I'm on is the Sound Transit light rail station design advisory committee. This group was formed by the City of Mountlake Terrace to represent our residents and businesses and provide input on the design on the Mountlake Terrace light rail station. We have had several meetings with the Sound Transit design team and have really been pushing them to make our station a visual gateway to our city as it will be such a prominent landmark for those travelling to and from Mountlake Terrace or just travelling through on the freeway or link light rail. One important task that a few members of the committee are involved in is selecting an artist who will be responsible for all the artwork at the station. Artwork is a big part of each of the light rail stations and is an opportunity to differentiate that station from others and creating a sense of place and identity. On Friday, February 11, we had an all day meeting narrowing down a list of 12 artists to 3. The week of February 27 we'll be interviewing the top 3 and select one artist.
Another hat I wear is being the Chair of the City's Recreation and Park's Advisory Commission. One exciting thing happening on the recreation front is that the City was just granted $100,000 from Snohomish County to begin implementing our Ballinger Park Master Plan. The plan identified around $13 million worth of potential improvement to the park. These improvements will take many years to fund and complete but having a plan in place better positions the City for grant funding opportunities. One high priority project will new fishing pier as the existing dock is literally falling apart.
It sure seems like it has been quite a while since we've seen any dirt being moved or new buildings going up downtown, which can be discouraging for those of us excited bout the changing face of our city. Good news is there is a lot of planning going on behind the scenes right now. The Gateway project has finally broken ground after some delays. Trucks will be accessing the site from 237th St SW until the bridge on Gateway Boulevard can be retrofitted. There are four separate townhome projects with a total of 50 townhomes in the works. Currently there are 18 developed townhomes in the neighborhood. Other large projects in the planning phases are the redevelopment of the Rogers property, the Calvary Tabernacle property at 236th/56th, a mixed-use building just north of the mosque on 56th, and just recently a pre-app was submitted for a 4 story mixed-use building on 57th Ave W just behind the Rogers property.
As you can see there is a lot going on behind the scenes right now in MLT, do try and find a way to get involved.