By Peter Gibson
As a concerned young adult in Edmonds, I went to Monday night’s Strategic Plan workshop to put my spin on things. The workshop was put on by the City and was based off recent surveys conducted to see where the City needs to focus its attention and plan out for the next 30 years.
These surveys were sent to adults, business owners, employees, retail customers and young Adults. The highest number of respondents was the adult category, with 590 taking the survey. 590! We are a city of 40,000 residents and only 590 adults cared about our future? Or is it because it was not well-publicized? The most depressing number was only 32 young adults shared their thoughts.
The survey narrowed the Strategic Plan topics to four fields: Economic Development-Highway 99 Corridor, Community Development-Downtown/Waterfront, Arts and Culture, and Governance. Since I was one of two “young adults” at this conference, I tried to share a broad viewpoint for all young adults in Edmonds on each topic.
For Economic Development-Highway 99 Corridor, my opinion was that area was becoming more youth friendly, but wasn’t reaching its potential. The Dick’s in Edmonds is one of the best things going for the youth. It is a cheap place to grab a bite to eat and hang out with friends. But it is the only place on the 99 corridor where we can enjoy ourselves. I believe that area could use a bowling alley (because we are losing the one at Westgate), or some other entertainment that would bring revenue to the city, but also benefit the youth.
Downtown Edmonds dies at about 8. Revelations has made it live a little longer. I can’t count the numerous times I have been kicked out of staying at the beach or parks after hours (10 p.m.). I shared that I was the Student Representative on Edmonds Council in 2011, and at 11 p.m. after a meeting I would be starving. There is no non-sit-down place in Edmonds that supplies a quick meal that late. The closest place would be one of the local bars, but they are 21 plus. We don’t even have a grocery store in downtown that is open past 9 p.m. For the 16-20 age group, we are up late and we want something to do, and fuel to keep us going.
Edmonds is known for its arts. I expressed that Edmonds is known for its “gray hair art” — art that appeals to the eyes of someone 65-plus. I would like to see the youth get more involved in the arts. The city could highlight music that we are interested in and can perform. Or it could have art that young adults have created shown in vacant stores window space around town.
Edmonds is known to young adults at “Deadmonds.” My idea for governance was to get local high school students more involved in local government. Being the City Council’s Student Rep put me more in the loop of what the city was doing. If we got more high school-aged youth involved in the city government, then our word could be heard. My example to the workshop was that if the city could have sent these youth surveys to Edmonds-Woodway High School, then the numbers for the youth section would have significantly jumped. In addition, more students might be interested to see what came from the surveys and be here for the workshops.
This could be the missing puzzle piece that could abolish “gray-haired Deadmonds” and make the city more youth-friendly.
Peter Gibson, a 2011 graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, served as the high school’s City Council representative in 2010-11. Gibson is enrolled in the firefighter training program at Everett Community College.