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City of Mill Creek to receive $100,000 from Snohomish County for Exploration Park construction

Exploration Park layout. Image courtesy of City of Mill Creek.
Exploration Park layout. Image courtesy of City of Mill Creek.

By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.

Snohomish County Councilmember Terry Ryan surprised the Mill Creek City Council by announcing he obtained $100,000 in county funds to help pay for the city’s upcoming Exploration Park construction project.

During the Tuesday, January 9, 2018, city council meeting Ryan gave City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto significant credit for working with him to obtain the funds. He said, “This is something that I’ve been working with Rebecca on. She is very proactive in finding ways to partner and get things done together… She’s awesome, so take good care of her.”

Ryan said that a check for $100,000 of the county’s Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) funds would be cut when “proof of payment” for Exploration Park construction was received from the city after the project’s completion.

Mayor Pam Pruitt thanked Ryan, “It makes a big difference with a city of our size. Our 1% tax increase is about $60,000 so you saved us a boatload of money for a project that is going to be well loved and well used.”

The City of Mill Creek included $530,000 for the project in the 2017-2018 capital budget, but recent estimates show that the actual cost will be closer to $1,000,000.

Exploration Park, which is located in the North Pointe neighborhood, will get a significant upgrade this summer with the following features specifically designed for young families to enjoy:

  • Large play lawn,
  • Climbing hill with embedded slide,
  • Logs and rocks play area,
  • Frog pond,
  • Short tunnel through hill, and
  • Benches and picnic tables.

Unlike a number of other Mill Creek neighborhood parks, Exploration Park will not have restrooms or a large covered picnic area.

According to an October 2016 news release, “The Parks and Recreation Board wanted to ensure all the park design concepts recognized this was a local neighborhood park, not a community or ‘destination’ park that would draw many people from neighborhoods too far away to walk. Their concern was this would exacerbate the already limited parking capacity of the park and the adjacent streets.”

The 1.2-acre park was dedicated to the city in 2006 by the neighborhood’s housing developer.

Interim park improvements simply consisted of lawn, perimeter landscape beds and street trees. Poor drainage has limited the use of the park during the wet season.

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