Edmonds Citizens’ Economic Development Commission elects new officers

The Edmonds Citizens Economic Development Commission (EDC) unanimously elected a new slate of officers at its January meeting. Bruce Witenberg, formerly vice chair, was chosen to a full term as chairperson and Kevin Garrett is the new vice chair.

The EDC was formed by the Edmonds City Council in 2009 and consists of 17 volunteer citizens, three appointed by the mayor and two by each of the seven council members. The Commission is charged with providing advice and substantive input to the Planning Board, the City Council and the Mayor on economic development issues.

“EDC Commissioners are essentially ambassadors of economic development throughout our city,” Witenberg said.

After he was elected, Witenberg said he is committed to ensuring that the Commission and its members take a more proactive role in the coming year, including working closely with the City Council. “Our goal is to have a small group meet regularly with our City Council liaisons, Strom Peterson and Kristiana Johnson, to help the Commissioners focus on action items that will have the support of the Council, contribute to economic development in Edmonds and preserve the Edmonds’ ambiance we all enjoy,” he said.

The EDC is also embarking on an initiative to collaborate more directly with other City boards, commissions and non-governmental organizations. A plan has been developed for EDC members to act as liaisons to such groups as the Port and the Chamber of Commerce. By working together, the goal is to coordinate economic development initiatives, and avoid duplication of efforts.

Examples of recent contributions the EDC has made to the economic health of Edmonds include:
• Playing a key role in initiating the development of the Strategic Action Plan adopted by the City Council in April 2013, and working on the plan’s implementation. “The Economic Development Commission’s work on the Strategic Action Plan is an excellent example of the commission’s efforts to promote economic health in Edmonds,” said Stephen Clifton, Edmonds Community Services/Economic Development director.
• Supporting the recent action by the City Council limiting future office uses of storefront properties in the downtown business district — a measure intended to provide a vibrant retail core with both day and evening activity throughout the week.
• Participating in development of the Westgate Redevelopment Plan and Form Based Code currently being considered by the Planning Board.

The Edmonds Citizens’ Economic Development Commission meets monthly on the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Brackett Room of Edmonds City Hall located at 121 5th Ave. N. The meetings are open to the public and each provides an opportunity for public comment. For additional information on the commission, visit the City of Edmonds website or email Bruce.Witenberg@edmondswa.gov or Stephen.Clifton@edmondswa.gov.

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