Published February 2006

Mayor shines light
on Everett’s future

Everett’s growing economy and changing image is the kind of positive news that Mayor Ray Stephanson enjoys talking about and Everett Area Chamber of Commerce members enjoy hearing.

Addressing a sold-out chamber gathering at the Everett Golf & Country Club in January, the mayor ticked off a list of major construction projects designed to enhance the city’s growth and stature, changes that seem certain to attract even more growth and change.

Among the new developments were these, ranging from Everett’s waterfront to its development of the Snohomish River property in Lowell:

  • Work is well under way in adding HOV lanes on I-5 that are designed to eliminate traffic congestion near the 41st Street exits.
  • Everett Community College, with 18,000 students last year, is adding four new buildings and additional parking in a major expansion project.
  • Providence Everett Medical Center’s new cancer care center is under construction in north Everett, part of its $400 million expansion and redevelopment of its Colby Avenue campus.
  • City development of riverfront property in east Everett has begun, along with an I-5 overpass to the area to serve 200 acres of future retail, education and recreation projects.
  • In northeast Everett, 90 condominiums are planned in a development rising from previously contaminated industrial property that has been reclaimed.
  • Port Gardner Wharf is under construction by the Port of Everett, the start of a $300 million transformation of the city’s waterfront with new housing, recreation and commercial development.
  • The downtown Everett Holiday Inn has reopened with 243 rooms, adding a major attraction for the area’s tourism industry.
  • Holiday sales at the Everett Mall, now completing a $30 million expansion with the addition of new nationally branded stores, were “the best in a decade,” the mayor said.
  • The $22 million Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour facility at Paine Field opened to rave reviews in December, a new attraction expected to add $3.5 million a year to the city and county tourism economy.
  • Everett Community College has assumed the leadership for the higher education consortium of 11 colleges and universities offering classes at Everett Station and is leading the study of future city and county education needs, including the potential for a state-funded, four-year university campus.
  • Efforts by the city once again convinced congressional base-closing reviewers to endorse the continued presence of Naval Station Everett, preserving a multimillion-dollar asset for the city, county and national defense.

Also, city government is budgeting $53 million for public safety projects and services, plus funding for economic development, street paving, infrastructure improvements and transportation, plus $41 million to enhance the city’s wastewater treatment plant, Stephanson said.

Further, the City Council and the mayor’s office are working on development of a new downtown zoning and building height plan to encourage more condominium and office building construction, he said.

“And, by the end of this year — with an annexation in 2005 and two more planned for 2006 — the city is expected to reach 100,000 population,” Stephanson said. “Add to that the fact that the city’s bond rating has been upgraded, and Everett’s financial outlook is stable.”

Overall, Everett is in an enviable position that includes many other developments — from Everett’s southwest industrial parks such as Seaway Center to the new Gateway Center on south Broadway — that Stephanson didn’t have enough time to mention.

The current city economy is vastly improved over just a few years ago, before the Everett Performing Arts Center, Everett Station, the Everett Events Center and Snohomish County government’s expanded Everett campus began attracting people back into the downtown core.

Stephanson’s presentation speaks well for the positive outlook and economic development efforts of the mayor, the City Council, Port of Everett commissioners and area merchants.

Back to the top/February 2006 Main Menu


© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA