“I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.” – John D. Rockefeller.
As we approach this Labor Day weekend, I have been pondering the meaning of those words and what role our city plays in giving men and women the opportunity to make a living, when it struck me that our economic development efforts and our public works construction projects have a direct relationship to a person’s ability to make a living.
This year in Edmonds we have over $16 million in new commercial construction under way. That means over 160 construction jobs have been created by development we have attracted to Edmonds. In addition, some of these businesses will bring new jobs to our city. One such company is Dick’s Drive In, a company that is active in the community and values employees. The new Edmonds Dick’s will employ dozens of workers who will earn higher-than-industry-average hourly wages, and if they work at least 24 hours per week, they’re eligible for 100 percent employer-paid medical insurance. There is also a 401(k) plan for eligible employees that include a 50 percent employer match, and eligible employees even receive up to four extra hours of pay per month if they are volunteering with a local charity.
Other businesses expanding in Edmonds include a new cancer care center at Swedish Hospital, Panera Bread, and Columbia State Bank. The new $6 million 16,000 square foot cancer treatment center adjacent to Swedish Hospital is part of Swedish’s commitment to invest $150 million in upgrades over the next decade. This expansion will provide long term family wage jobs in our community for many years to come.
In addition to the commercial projects, the City of Edmonds is busy investing your tax dollars in Public Works and Park infrastructure. This includes nearly $9 million in wastewater pump stations, water lines, street and walkway improvements. It also includes a $1.4 million dollar project that will complete the Interurban Trail between Seattle and Everett. These publicly funded projects will create over 100 construction jobs.
None of these projects, public or private, would be possible without the commitment of loyal city employees who work together with investors and contractors to bring the projects to completion.
In these challenging times when our nation is struggling to recover from this great recession, it is encouraging to see partnerships taking place that have brought over 260 construction jobs and dozens of long term jobs to our community of 40,000 people. It is a sign that our future is bright.