In recent years, the Edmonds section of Highway 99 has seen significant growth in its International District, which is located approximately between 238th Street Southwest and 224th Street Southwest, including many businesses owned by Korean Americans. So it’s fitting
that the City of Edmonds and the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce will be represented Thursday night at a dinner and roundtable meeting being hosted by the Washington State Korean American Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in the Southcenter area.
Stephen Clifton, the City of Edmonds’ Director of Community Services and Economic Development, said he will be attending the meeting along with Edmonds Chamber of Commerce Executive Jan Vance, Chamber Economic Development Committee member Bob Rinehart and the City’s Arts and Cultural Services Manager Frances Chapin, who is overseeing the implementation of planned lighting and streetscape improvements in the dsitrict.
“The roundtable is a way of building bridges between the Korean American business community and local chambers and business leaders,” Clifton said. “Southwest Snohomish County is home to many Korean American businesses and we want to learn how to improve outreach to businesses owners.”
According to a letter inviting the City of Edmonds to the event, which also involves the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, the Puget Sound region is home to thousands of Korean American businesses from grocery stores to interactive media to banks. “We also have representatives from both Korean airlines that fly to Seattle, both steam ship lines as well as Korean investments. We are home to several Korean American newspapers and a Korean American television station,” the letter noted.
Thanks to Chapin’s efforts, in the next year Edmonds’ International District will be even more recognizable as the city adds lighting and streetscape improvements, including public art elements and signage, all funded through a federal Highway Enhancements grant.
Chapin said that initially the city received $373,000 in grant money to fund seven custom color poles with banner signs, designed by artist Pam Beyette. But Chapin was able to acquire an additional $289,000 grant, meaning the city can install up to 16 light poles along the roadway. In addition, project will include a “Triangle Luminary” sculpture, also designed by Beyette, on the island at 76th Avenue West and Highway 99 across from the Ranch 99 Market shopping center.
Originally, the city was going to complete the project funded by the initial grant money this year, and add more lighting later. However, Chapin said, it was decided to do the entire project at the same time to minimize disruption to the local commercial district. “Design of the additional elements will take place this spring/summer and we hope to have the project constructed and complete in spring 2012 at the latest,” she said.