City to make offer on Japanese Gulch land
MUKILTEO - The city is in the process of buying almost 11 acres of the last remaining piece of Japanese Gulch.
The City Council last week approved using a $500,000 grant the city received to make an offer.
The last piece is 98 acres and owned by a creditor group that wants to sell it. The city is slowly raising grant funds to acquire this piece bit by bit, Japanese Gulch Group president Todd Hooper said last week.
The city has no plans to use the Precht property as a bargaining chip in the deal, Hooper said. The idea of selling the Precht property to raise money to buy the last, large piece of the gulch raised concern among council members last month, most notably gulch group member Council President Richard Emery.
The city also is submitting two grant applications to the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office for $500,000 and $1 million and one to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Forest Program for $400,000 to acquire additional Japanese Gulch property.
Snohomish County’s Conservation Futures Grant panel also is aware of the city’s intent to request funds in 2012 to purchase additional Japanese Gulch property.
“We’re slowly purchasing pieces; we’ve still got a long way to go,” Hooper said. “We need community support.”
Community support is one of the gauges the county panel uses to give out grants, he said.
The city already has acquired all of the other pieces of the gulch, and it released a master plan last year to add trails and amenities in the gulch.
Japanese Gulch is the last remaining undeveloped area in Mukilteo. The gulch is plush with forests and acts as a natural wetland for Japanese Creek, which runs into Puget Sound.
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published April 25, 2012