Everett's public works campus could relocate
Review the city consultant's presentation here (link opens in new window)
EVERETT — The city’s game plan to eventually move its Public Works department to new digs is crystallizing.
Two relocation suggestions are being discussed: One is in an out-of-the-way area the city owns along the Snohomish River. The other is a plan to buy property somewhere between Pacific Avenue and 41st Street to set up a new campus close to the current one.
In April, a consultant suggested pursuing both options in tandem to avoid any delays. This July, the City Council will be asked whether to go ahead on this plan.
The ballpark to siting a new Public Works campus would be $140 to $150 million.
To help cover the cost, the city may increase taxpayers’ utility bills by 1 percent or so each year to 2030, and make shallower increases each year from 2030 to 2050.
A tag-along idea being considered is to create a satellite Public Works site in south Everett to house trucks and other rigs, which would cost about $10 million. Having two sites could quicken response times when deploying crews.
Taking no action to move would turn the city’s attention toward making $10 million worth of seismic upgrades to the existing buildings at the Cedar Avenue campus. The oldest building there dates to 1971.
The preferred new site is to use undeveloped riverfront land at what’s called the Everett Point Industrial Center (“EPIC”). The city owns 64 acres out there. The land sits due east of the Riverside Neighborhood, beyond East Grand Avenue — it’s a bulb of land shaped by how the river curves.
For this plan to work well, the city wants to extend Everett Avenue by building a bridge over the nearby railroad tracks; doing this would give traffic a straight shot into downtown. Today’s meandering route to the site crosses an at-grade rail crossing.
The city began studying a plan for its Public Works facilities about 12 years ago. It’s considering new sites for both functional reasons as well as for future land-planning.
One of the city’s reasons to give Public Works a new home is because the department’s current buildings are getting cramped. However, another motivator is the downtown land along Pacific Avenue at Cedar Avenue could be prime real estate when development grows eastward. The light rail station for downtown is believed to be arriving less than a block away around 2035. The campus takes almost 11 acres.
Any investment in the building is meant to last more than 30 years into the future, and the city today isn’t keen to lock up the land for municipal purposes.
A new campus is envisioned as a 50-year investment.
A prior city proposal outlined a plan to construct all-new buildings at the current campus site for around $70 million. A council majority turned down this idea because of the perceived viability of the land where the campus stands.
More information about this project is at www.everettwa.gov/servicecenter
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