Edmonds Citizens Economic Development Commission releases annual report

At the Tuesday, Feb. 18 Edmonds City Council meeting, the Citizens Economic Development Commission made its annual report on the work it is doing to fulfill its mission of finding and securing new revenue streams for the city, and working to improve the city’s much-needed revenue base.

We have uploaded the complete report here but have also included the highlights, as reported by Chair Bruce Witenberg and Vice Chair Kevin Garrett.

The 17-member commission meets monthly to discuss issues, and also has four sub groups that also meet regularly: Strategic Planning, Technology, Business Districts Enhancement, and Tourism and Visitor Services.

Among the EDC’s goals for 2014 is “to enhance the working relationship between the commission and the City Council,” Witenberg said, noting that he and fellow commission member Doug Purcell are acting as council liaisons. “The goals are to increase the collaboration with council and increase the receptiveness of any initiatives the EDC puts forward to the council,” he added.

The EDC has also developed a plan for 2014 to have EDC members act as liaisons to such groups as the Port and the Chamber of Commerce and others. “By working together, the goal is to coordinate economic development initiatives, and avoid duplication of efforts within the community on economic development issues,” Witenberg said. “Doing so will make other groups better aware of our existence and role in economic development. We can provide each other assistance on our respective economic development initiatives, and hopefully avoid duplication of efforts.”

The following highlights some of the more significant Economic Commission Development activities related to economic development efforts in 2013. This can be found on pages four through seven of the report.

- In January, participated in joint meeting between the Edmonds Planning Board and the EDC to hear a presentation by consultant Tom Beckwith on the City of Edmonds’ final draft Strategic Action Plan. The final Strategic Plan was approved by the council in April 2013.

- In April, EDC member Darrol Haug (who also serves as the Community Technology Advisory Committee Chair) joined representatives from the city and local companies to discuss ways to attract smaller tech/design-based companies to Edmonds.

- In May, Economic Development Commissioners were invited to attend a meeting with city representatives and Roger Brooks of Destination Development Inc. to discuss with downtown Edmonds property/building owners the topic of limiting office and other similar uses along designated ground level street frontages (first 45 feet measured from front of building) in the downtown core. Also in May, representatives from the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Port of Kingston and Kitsap County government attended a meeting in the Brackett meeting room to learn about economic development and related programs and activities in Edmonds. They were particularly interested in learning about the evolution of the Edmonds Economic Development Commission since its creation in 2009. Representatives from the Port of Edmonds, Chamber of Commerce, EDC and City of Edmonds attended the meeting.

- In September, commissioners heard a presentation from David Jaffe, Swedish/Edmonds CEO, on existing operations and development plans for Swedish/Edmonds. Commissioners asked a wide range of questions relating to how the City and Swedish could work collaboratively on economic initiatives that would benefit both the City and Swedish.

- In October, the EDC’s Land Use subgroup provided an update on the Westgate Special District Plan. An EDC “Think Tank” discussion on new economic development ideas from commissioners for potential group direction also took place.

- In November, Jill Sterret and Julie Kriegh from the University of Washington provided a broad overview of the process and various components of the proposed Westgate neighborhood redevelopment plan and the use of form-based code.

Editor’s note: My Edmonds News Publisher Teresa Wippel is a member of the Citizens Economic Development Commission.

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