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Marysville builds new waterfront

They’ve breached the dikes! For good reasons.

Qwuloolt Estuary

One of the basic rules of real estate is that you can’t make more land. Another is that waterfront is valuable. Look at the money being spent on Seattle’s very valuable waterfront. Marysville has an innovative twist on the old adages. Make more waterfront.

Early Europeans settlers did make more land around the Sound by diking tidal lands and estuaries. It seemed like a good idea at the time, especially when there was an abundance of nature and a demand for farmland. Rather than using fill like Seattle, places like Marysville took lessons from the Dutch and claimed land from the sea.

Things have changed. Nature could use some help, Marysville needs to be something more than a bedroom community and commuter’s hub, and the region needs more places to play. The decision to breach the dikes wasn’t a whim of some developer. Deciding what to do with the dikes, the blocked estuary, yet another landfill, and a Superfund site has been going on since 1994. It isn’t just something Marysville is interested in. The Tulalip Tribes are active for more traditional reasons. Add in about ten other organizations and see why there are many incentives, motivations, and considerations.

Qwuloolt Estuary

Kayakers may already know about the region. Opening more land to the sea expands their playable area and should invite much more wildlife.

The bigger benefit for the city may be the waterfront. Until recently, Marysville was relatively small. In 1980 it was barely 5,000 people. As of 2010, it is over 60,000. An expanded waterfront is an opportunity to provide entertainment, give businesses a place to open that has more appeal than a strip mall, adds jobs, and means residents don’t have to drive as far to shop or relax.

Seattle’s growth is encouraging growth beyond its borders. Expect to see similar initiatives around the region as density reaches levels sufficient to fund new services and experiences. Time to rewrite the guidebooks.

If you want more check out the Qwuloolt Estuary site, or a recent report on KUOW.