Council rejects idea, for now, of buying downtown lot for park use

A long-vacant lot in the heart of downtown Enumclaw will not be purchased by the city and turned into a downtown park.

Not in the near future, anyway.

Members of the City Council decided, by a 4-2 margin June 13, against buying the graveled parcel at the corner of Cole Street and Myrtle Avenue. The land has been vacant for more than decade, since a dramatic, late-night fire demolished the building that housed Sears and other tenants.

Moments after the council vote – which saw only councilmen Jeff Beckwith and Rich Elfers supporting the purchase – it was suggested that the idea not be totally discarded. Councilman Sean Krebs stated a desire to see the issue sent to the council’s Community and Economic Development Committee so the possible purchase could be raised at another time “with a more cohesive plan than we have now.”

The rest of the council agreed, also acknowledging that the idea could be discussed during their upcoming annual retreat.

Mayor Liz Reynolds went public with the proposal during an April City Council meeting, relating how city administration had negotiated a $295,000 purchase price. A sign on the property tells of a $345,000 asking price.

Reynolds related her vision of a downtown spot that could host small events or simply provide a respite for shoppers.

Shooting down that plan during the June 13 session were councilmen Kevin Mahelona, Glen Jensen, Mike Ennis and Krebs.

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