MARYSVILLE – Crime around the 35-acre Mother Nature’s Window was a topic of conversation at Mayor Jon Nehring’s Coffee Klatch Wednesday.
The heavily wooded property at 100th and 55th is where many homeless and drug addicts hang out, neighbors said. Parks director Jim Ballew said the city is applying for federal and state grants with hopes of turning that property into a park. “If we get a grant construction could start next year,” he said, adding it would cost $185,000 just to fence the area. The area has a caretaker with a golf cart who drives around the property. He reports problems to police. City maintenance workers walk through there three times a week, Ballew said.
He added a development southwest of the property should get rid of some of the vagrants. When the park is built, more will leave.
“If you bring people to it, those who don’t belong will leave,” he said.
The property is a favorite of Ballew’s. “It’s probably one of the most pristine places in the city,” he said.
A number of other issues came up at the public gathering at the Shoultes Fire Station.
Nehring said, “The economy is on fire now,” causing building costs to skyrocket 30 percent. He is antsy about state-funded projects.
“I just want to get the shovels in the ground,” he said.
For example, the city is pushing its consultants on the Civic Center to be done with plans so a bid can go out in February.
As for the city budget, the mayor said priorities are made on what it thinks residents want such as public safety, traffic and quality-of-life issues.
Four officers would be hired over the next two years. The First Street Bypass is being built so traffic won’t clog downtown when the Highway 529 interchange is built. And Bayview Trail connecting with the Centennial Trail would give more opportunities for walkers, runners and bicyclists.
Along with 529, two other projects would help traffic avoid the railroad tracks. The state is funding a design for an overcrossing on Grove Street. That could lead to the state actually funding it, Nehring said. “It’s a public safety issue,” he said, adding first-responders have to wait for trains like everyone else even in an emergency.
In the future, there also would be an interchange at 156th Street that would avoid the tracks.
The mayor also said the city hopes to develop Ebey Waterfront Park with an eatery and possibly kayak rentals. “Hopefully then downtown would develop into something special,” he said.
Planning director Dave Koenig said the longtime report that a Chick-fil-A is coming to town on 88th is still in the works. However, Lowe’s has backed off on the site at Soper Hill and Highway 9.
The hotel on 116th has a buyer so that work should start up again. There are four permits for buildings on spec in the Manufacturing Industrial Center, but they will need to find tenants. And 15 businesses are remodeling, Koenig added.
•Many houses are being built and mitigation fees are being charged to help schools, roads and parks.
•Trying to get a Regional Fire Authority on the ballot for April.
•There are 54 Neighborhood Watch groups in the city, with four more in the works.