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Bayview trail gains support, criticism from neighbors
MARYSVILLE Walk out the back door of Cheryl Robinsons home on 76th Place NE and even an objective observer has to be struck by several things.
The first is an amazing view that seems to include most of Marysville and plenty of surrounding communities. At least on this occasion, early on a weekday afternoon, the second is a pervasive quiet. The view clearly isnt going anywhere. But Robinson and several of her neighbors feel their peace and quiet is threatened by city plans to build a recreational trail that essentially would abut their backyards.
As proposed by the city, whats been dubbed Phase 1 of the Bayview/Whiskey Ridge community trail would run from 84th Street NE, or Getchell Hill Road, to Fourth Street, or SR 528.
A second phase would extend the path from SR 528 to the area of East Sunnyside Boulevard and Soper Hill Road.
There was a public informational meeting on the trail sponsored by the city last month. But Robinson feels strongly enough about the issue that she invited neighbors to an informational session at her home last week. The session was closed to the general public and the media.
Still, one did not need to be in attendance to know the views of Robinson and several surrounding property owners. Besides worries over a loss of privacy, they have voiced concerns about losing some of their property and property values.
In short, their position is strong opposition.
Robinson said when she purchased her home, she specifically sought out a location that was far from public amenities.
Im looking for peace and quiet, she said.
City Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew has been on vacation and unavailable for comment. Marysville Chief Administrative Officer Mary Swenson believes there is a lot of misinformation about the trail floating around the community. She said that was one reason for last months public session.
Swenson added resident surveys repeatedly have put park and trail creation at the top of the citys priorities, meaning the city has plenty of experience with such projects. With that in mind, she argued history shows many of the issues cited by Bayview trail opponents probably will not come to pass.
People are worried about after-hours drinking, about littering and so on, Swenson said. What weve found is that those things just dont end up happening.
The Bayview trail would run primarily under power lines along hillsides in the Bayview/Whiskey Ridge areas. Swenson said the isolated swath of land already could be attracting exactly the types of problems that concern Robinson and others. According to some of Robinsons neighbors, thats precisely the case.
A neighbor of Robinsons, David Wade said he regularly finds drug paraphernalia and condoms behind his home. He said drug deals and attempts at covert sexual acts are common. Like others, he said the trail only can worsen the situation.
The city will need to obtain swatches of about four properties to make the trail work. John Blackmon said he received a letter from the city asking him to donate a portion of his property to the project, not something hes about to do.
Among other issues, Blackmon said the letter was vague about what part of his property the city wants to obtain. But for the most part, Blackmon feels the trail is a public safety issue.
Crossing approximately seven streets, Blackmon argued the trail would be an invitation to accidents. He talked about a young cyclist who was recently struck by a car in the area. Nevertheless, Blackmon overall seems to have a somewhat softer response to the trail idea than a few of his neighbors.
My whole thing is, if everyone else wants the trial, Im not going to stop it, he said.
At the same time, Blackmon added he would sell his property and move if the trail becomes a reality.
If they really want this thing, they (the city) should do a much better job of promoting it, said Jenifer Blackmon.
Although to date the opposition has been louder and more organized, the trail does have its public supporters.
I like the idea of a place to walk that is off the road, said resident Lori McCormick, whose home, like many of the trails opponents, abuts the potential pathway. She added she likes the idea of sharing the view enjoyed by her and her neighbors. McCormick said she understands the worries over privacy.
In the end, there are more pluses than there are negatives, she said.
Swenson said there is no timeline for construction of the trail or even acquisition of the needed property. She invited those interested in the project, either for or against it, to contact the city recreation department at 360-363-8000. In an effort to keep those neighbors informed, especially of any future public meetings, Swenson said officials hope to collect the names and addresses of those most affected by the potential project.