What are the big ideas for your City of Edmonds parks in next six years?

Carrie Hite

Carrie Hite

Acquiring Civic field from the School District and developing it? Establishing an effective ecosystem in the Marsh and daylighting Willow Creek? Developing full size turf multi use fields at Former Woodway High School? Acquiring open space and preserving habitat? Improving walking and bicycling access? Developing a community garden? Continuing to explore a year around pool? Working with the Senior Center to solidify long range plans? All of these and more are goals in the recently approved 2014 Parks, Recreation, and Open Space plan.

The Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department has been engaged in a community planning process since June 2013 to update both the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan (PROS plan) and the Community Cultural Plan ( CCP). Both these plans were recently approved at the City Council meeting on February 25, 2014. This article will highlight the PROS plan.

Edmonds updates its PROS Plan on a six-year cycle, in alignment with the requirements of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) to maintain eligibility for federal and state grant programs. The PROS Plan provides comprehensive guidance on the development and management of Edmonds’ parks, recreation and open space system and the services provided by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.

The process for approving the PROS plan was very comprehensive and followed four phases, including a broad community process. The process was guided by MIG, Inc, and a 23-member citizen advisory team.

Beginning in spring 2013, the purpose of Phase 1 was to establish a baseline of information to support the PROS Plan, including a review of the existing conditions in the community and an assessment of the existing park system and recreation services. In Phase 2, the PROS planning team developed an analysis of parks and recreation needs, using analysis criteria drawn from the community involvement process. In addition, the team’s recreation center specialist conducted an assessment of Frances Anderson Center, its use, programming, and needs. Through the analysis and subsequent community involvement, the planning team crafted the parks, recreation and open space system concept, goals and objectives.

In Phase 3, the team then began developing and refining recommendations and a list of recommended projects, prepared prioritization criteria, and evaluated funding options.

In Phase 4, the full draft PROS Plan was released for public review. This adopted PROS Plan was refined with input from the public, staff, and city officials, and approved by City Council.

Some of the common themes in the PROS plan include:

Shoreline/Waterfront
Past planning efforts confirm that Edmonds’ proximity to the water is a valued part of the city’s identity and quality of life, and acquisition and development on the waterfront continues to be emphasized in the PROS plan.

Arts and Culture
Arts and culture are also central to the community’s identity. In addition to the direction provided by the Community Cultural Plan, the Strategic Action Plan describes many actions related to arts and culture in Edmonds, especially around the role of arts and culture in economic development.

Connectedness
Though its downtown is very walkable, greater Edmonds has several characteristics—including steep topography and the presence of major transportation corridors—that create challenges and barriers for pedestrians and cyclists. The PROS plan emphasizes creating improvement of walking and bicycling connections.

Habitat Conservation and Environmental Restoration
As an added component in this plan, it includes policy and planning guidance to protect and enhance natural resources, while encouraging educational interpretation and community stewardship.

Funding
In recent years, Edmonds has initiated several efforts to bolster funding for parks and recreation, including the establishment of park impact fees and formation of a task force to explore a Metropolitan Park District and/or a levy to restore parks and recreation services lost to budget cuts. Public feedback from these efforts has emphasized the importance to the community of continued investment in the parks and recreation system.

For more information about the recently approved PROS plan, you can log on to the City’s website and download the plan or contact me at 425-771-0256.

– By Carrie Hite
Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Director – City of Edmonds

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9 Comments

  1. The specifics of the Sunset Walkway Project have never been presented to the citizens of Edmonds…..specifics being a key word here……..before huge sums of money spent…….The citizens didn’t just fall off the turnip truck……….Specifics First!

  2. Newly relocating from Minneapolis. Very interested in walkability and creating habitat for wildlife/gardens.

    Look forward to becoming an active citizen and enjoying my Chapter Three.

  3. Jan, there are a number of volunteer opportunities to help Edmonds. We have lots of groups that will be interesting for you to add some fun things to your Chapter Three. You can contact the city and ask for Cindi Cruz in the economic development department, she has a list of most of the groups around town and how to reach them. You can also go the the city of Edmonds web site to see the boards and commissions and some other groups that would love to have your help. Hope that helps. The editor of My Edmonds New will give you my personal email if you wish and I can help you get going. After all someone born in North Dakota can always find a why to help a fellow mid westerner.

  4. Ms Ryder, Your comments are puzzling. It is unclear what you mean by specifics? If you could jot down a list of your needs I am sure many will be able to help you get what you need.

  5. Jan… You may want to look into the Community Backyard Habitat of Edmonds group. Current projects include expanding the Edmonds Wildlife Habitat Native Plant Demonstration Garden (near the Salmon Hatchery). And there all always other programs/opportunities to be involved with and learn. You may connect with other like minded folks. Hope Chapter three is full of surprise, intrigue, and adventure!

  6. “Edmonds has initiated several efforts to bolster funding for parks and recreation, including the establishment of park impact fees and formation of a task force to explore a Metropolitan Park District and/or a levy …”

    Note the word LEVY….this is a scam to create a regional park district where LEVIES are increased automatically without a vote of the population that is affected. It is a bureaucratic way to circumvent the desires and pocketbooks of the People.

    Say NO!

  7. @Don – I believe that a majority of Edmonds residents will support “…efforts to bolster funding for parks and recreation….”.

    And I disagree with your assessment of “…the establishment of park impact fees and formation of a task force to explore a Metropolitan Park District and/or a levy …”

    Say YES!

  8. More than 2500 people participated in making contributions to the Strategic Plan. A Statistically valid survey was done to assess the voter ratings for about the 86 items in the plan. The voters overwhelming wanted to find ways to fund several items in ways that provided stable funding. Among the key items were: Senior Center, Anderson Center, a couple of items for Yost Pool and Parks. For Parks, a permanent funding source was indorsed by 79% of the people giving a it a rank of 3,4, or 5. 21% gave it a lower priority of 1 or 2.

    Permanent funding sources are not new, we do it for the Library and EMS services.(about $3.3m each) A Parks tax CAN be established with a corresponding reduction of the General Fund Tax. For example raising $2m could cost about $120 for a typical home and a could be accompanied by a corresponding reduction of $120 for the GF tax. This would make it revenue neutral and take park funding out of the GF and create a fund just for parks. This is what the voters supported by 79%.

    The tax can be structured in several ways. Library and EMS goes up and down base on the value of our homes. The percent does not increase. Increased can be structured in various ways. 1. 1% by the vote of council, like the GF. 2. Tied to CPI with a confirming vote of council. 3. Back to the people for a vote. 3 is cumbersome and costly to hold an election just for parks.

    When you look at another items in the SP that garnered overwhelming support it was Budgeting by Priorities. Over 91% 3,4,or 5 and only 9% 1 and 2. BBP is a process that has a very strong voter involvement. Voters will have a say in prioritizing budgets and this helps make budgeting more responsive to people.

    The bottom line is Dedicated taxes, Library, EMS, and Parks provide a secure funding source for the services votes want and Budgeting By Priorities provides voter input to budgeting.

    In the SP voters also express overwhelming support (85% 1,2 or 3 to 15% 1 and 2) to find permanent funding of $1.4m/yr ($90/avg home) to keep our street in better condition. But that’s another topic and this topic is about Parks.

  9. Jan and Rich,
    http://pilchuckaudubon.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&pageid=214
    Here is the website about the Willow Creek Habitat Demonstration Garden.
    The next work party is 10am on April 5th.

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