City has big plans for Stocker riverfront property
SNOHOMISH - The city will finally be able to buy a piece of property it has wanted for 20 years after receiving a grant from Snohomish County.
The city will be purchasing a 20-acre parcel of land from Ed and Edith Stocker. The property is located on Lincoln Avenue across from the Stocker Soccer Fields.
The property will establish a natural connection to the Riverfront Trail and between the Snohomish River and Pilchuck River by creating open spaces between the soccer fields and Pilchuck Community Park.
City project manager Ann Stanton confirmed that the property will be the site of the city’s much-needed new boat launch as well as a new city park.
The park is likely to have community gardens and possibly an off-leash dog park as well.
“It’s a wonderful and lovely open space and it’s really lovely,” Stanton said.
Son Keith Stocker said his family has always believed the property would serve the city well for recreational purposes and river access.
“We look forward to how it will affect business in town, and we believe it will create a positive economic boost for the community,” he said.
The city over the years has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to purchase the property.
“There certainly is a history,” Stocker said.
The city has not, up until now, been able to afford the piece of property.
Earlier this month, the Snohomish County Council approved investing $25 million worth of grant funding toward creating and preserving parks and open spaces, which made purchasing the Stocker property a reality for the city.
Snohomish’s grant is worth $500,000, which will go entirely toward the purchase of the Stocker riverfront farmland for the asking price of $500,000.
The property is a highly valued component of the city’s parks and trails, Stanton said.
“The city has spent a lot of time developing regional trail connections, and this is an irreplaceable component of the local connection for the regional trails,” Stanton said.
The city hopes to complete the purchase by the end of the year.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife will be designing and building the new boat launch that will be a focal point for future development on the property.
A new boat launch has been badly needed for some time, City Manager Larry Bauman said.
“Our boat launch is in serious disrepair and has been needed to be rebuilt for quite a while,” Bauman said. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to build a new boat launch for the community.”
The city’s boat launch at Cady Park at the east end of the Riverfront Trail is in poor condition and has inadequate parking.
Not only will the property complete an important piece in the city’s network of riverfront park space, but the land has a lot of environmental value as well, Stanton said.
The city hopes to create a side channel habitat for salmon as well as remove some invasive plants to restore natural shoreline vegetation that will help the fish currently in the river.
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