Hour by hour, where will all these people go? The Snohomish County comprehensive plan calls for Everett to accommodate up to 60,000 new residents in the next 25 years.
About 100 city and county leaders gathered earlier this month in Everett to discuss a vision for the redevelopment and revitalization of the neighborhood surrounding Everett Station. Walking through the area today, a pedestrian passes light industry and warehouses, vacant lots, and pockets of crime and homelessness.
The Everett Station District Alliance is a group of property owners, businesses, nonprofits and transportation agencies. Because we see the station as the sort of keystone place that can define our region’s future, Forterra has been co-facilitating the Alliance for nearly 2 years. The goal is to come up with a plan to create an affordable community around the station where residents can walk to transit and a range of neighborhood businesses—in short, a place people want to live.
The Alliance unveiled an outline of their 20-year vision for the Station District, designed to prepare for the growth coming to Everett. The new Station District could be home to as many as 4,500 new homes and 1,000 new jobs.
Fourteen years ago, Everett Station opened to hopes that it would catalyze similar revitalization. Instead, the neighborhood has changed little, showing that building transit and building communities around transit are distinct tasks. Now, drawing upon examples of success in similar communities around the nation, the Alliance believes that gathering input from a broad cross-section of the community will lead to meaningful investment in the area.
For today’s commuters, the Station District is a place to pass through. In the vision, the neighborhood becomes a place to live, work and visit.
Parking lots become parks, well-lit streets have sidewalks and trees, new residential buildings emerge among the historic structures, connections with downtown grow stronger and strategies to address homelessness and crime make the area safer.
Elected and transit leaders, including Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, spoke in support of building communities around transit. Each voice shared a common refrain: this is our chance to get growth right—and we must act now.
“There’s a question here as to whether there is community interest and support,” said Ed Petersen, Alliance chair and CEO of HopeWorks, a social enterprise headquartered in the neighborhood. The resounding answer at the meeting was, “yes.”
“The area around Everett Station is a keystone place. It’s keystone urban land—as integral to the sustainability of this place as the vital farmlands of the Snohomish Valley or the iconic mountains piercing the horizon visible from the station,” said Gene Duvernoy, Forterra’s President.
It’s all connected – getting growth right in Everett will make the whole region more livable.
*Puget Sound Regional Council