If June is any indication, we are in for a very hot summer. The Edmonds Parks Department has already seen record numbers of people enjoying our beachfront and other parks, and we’re ramping up seasonal labor to keep up with the demand. Along with keeping the parks clean, safe and enjoyable, the Parks Department is also responsible for the downtown flower baskets and corner beds. Recreation and Cultural Arts offer many specialty summer camps and recreation programs and summer concerts in City Park and Hazel Miller Plaza. Also, residents can take a walk and view the new artist-made historical signs you can find around town.
It probably is no surprise, but the City Park play area is under construction this summer, as we are installing the first ever spray pad for the city. Although it would be fabulous to have the spray pad in operation now as we experience record-setting heat, the city needed to time construction during summer months. There is less likelihood during dry months of penetrating the underground water table during construction. The spray pad will be completed, hopefully in time for Labor Day and some nice September weather.
Other happenings around town include the master planning for Marina Beach Park as we prepare to daylight Willow Creek through the Edmonds Marsh. There have been some great community conversations about this waterfront gem, and we are nearing a final concept design. The public is invited to the final open house on Wednesday, July 8, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Edmonds Plaza Room, located above the Edmonds Library, 650 Main St. We will also have an online open house, beginning July 9, that can be found here.
Please join us at the open house or visit us online to give us your feedback about the final concept. The Edmonds Planning Board and City Council are set to review the final plan and adopt it before the end of summer.
Another project in process is the partnership with the Edmonds School District to construct two synthetic turf multi-use fields at the former Woodway High School. This project has long been identified and adopted as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan. An extensive public process conducted in 2006 and 2007 created a vision for the only full-size, synthetic, multi-use fields in Edmonds, offering year-around opportunities for active lifestyles. It has taken some time to put the financial puzzle together to begin the project.
This project has not been without controversy, as recent anecdotal reports of the health impacts of the crumb rubber infill being used have raised some community concerns. Both the school district and funding partner, Verdant Health Commission, completed independent studies to determine if there were any health effects of this infill. Both efforts reviewed 32 studies and concluded that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. Neighbors have also voiced concerns, fearing that noise and traffic will impact the neighborhood. The city is committed to working with neighbors to mitigate these concerns.
In other news, the city is in active negotiations with the Edmonds School District for the purchase of Civic Field, an eight-acre park that is widely used by the whole community. The city has been leasing this site for its downtown park for more than 35 years. It has long been a priority to purchase the property and secure its future as a park.
The Parks Department continually looks for assets and opportunities to provide a quality of life for our citizens. A few new additions this past year include outdoor fitness equipment, thanks to a partnership with the Edmonds Wastewater Treatment Plant. The equipment is located in the open space area just south of the plant at 200 2nd Ave. S., Edmonds. It can be accessed by trails from 2nd Avenue and SR 104. In addition, we have striped eight outdoor pickleball courts at the Yost tennis court area. Portable pickleball nets can be checked out at the Frances Anderson Center for a refundable deposit.
This July, the National Parks and Recreation Association, along with local parks and recreation departments, are celebrating 30 years of Parks and Recreation Month and the importance of parks and recreation for the world. From the start, parks were created to serve the people—to give them a place to appreciate nature, exercise, socialize and have fun. This mission lives on and will continue to intensify into the future. This July, please join the Edmonds Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department in celebrating our parks!
— By Carrie Hite
City of Edmonds Parks Recreation and Cultural Services Director