MARYSVILLE Demolition crews are nearly done knocking down the former Interfor sawmill on State Avenue at the Ebey Slough, purchased by the city in March after the Canadian wood products company shuttered the plant in December of 2005.
The city paid $2.5 million dollars for the 10-acre site, which is currently being used to house personnel and equipment from the Public Works Departments solid waste division. The citys garbage trucks and supply of recycling containers are now housed in the few sheds and garages left standing, and workers for the community development department will occupy some of the offices in the former mill.
The mill equipment was auctioned off in July and a Montana firm bought the building for $250, according to Mike Shepard, fleet and facilities manager for the city of Marysville. The attraction for them was salvage rights for the heavy old-growth beams used to build the structure. An Idaho subcontracting firm is removing all the large timber, glue-laminate beams and supporting members and will cut them up into flooring materials. Its a form of recycling that save the city money, he said.
These folks have been in there stripping everything out and it hasnt cost us anything, Shepard said, adding that he will only have a couple piles of debris left to haul away when the contractors are finished. Our solid waste division is over there now. They are pretty much using the rest of the property.
The site will be used by the public works department for the foreseeable future as a marshalling yard to hold overflow equipment, but Mayor Dennis Kendall said the plot of land might host a new consolidated city hall that could be used as bait to interest real estate developers in a project to revitalize what some call the old downtown. Planners are still estimating the footprint city offices would occupy, but he thought a new building would be at least 50,000-square-feet and would house all departments including the administrative sections of the police department, fire district, parks department and others. The city jail would stay at its Grove Street location.
Were just beginning to look at what those requirements would be, Kendall said from his office on State Avenue. Were busting at the seams here.
Planners had previously said a new city hall could be built at the site of the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center, and Kendall said the site at State Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was still a possibility but with a downside.
I would not want to go down there and take out that park; it depends what the footprint would be, he explained.
The former sawmill site is on the citys waterfront and the state will be building a new four-lane bridge over Ebey Slough sometime in the next five or six years. With the new Ebey Waterfront Park completed in 2005, the mill site could be used to spark redevelopment of the industrial area along the slough and extending north to Fourth Street. City planners are working on plans to inject new life in the aging retail core of the city and most property owners in the area surrounding Third Street and the Marysville Mall concede that something needs to be done to freshen their image and bring more foot traffic to town. Many old-line retailers wince at the new, national chain, big box retailers opening in town and want the city to do something to help them. Kendall thinks the city could ignite a change by planting the Marysville flag on the slough.
City hall, it would show any developer that we are serious about downtown, Kendall said.
Thats important because the city will likely use a developer to build the new city hall on spec and then lease it back to the city for a term of about 30 years, with the city keeping the building at the end. This is how the city of Redmond was able to build a new administrative complex and is the most likely financing option for Marysville, according to Kendall. He would not specify a timeline but indicated such a venture could start within five years.
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