City officials and dignitaries were flush with pride Tuesday as the ribbon was cut for Edmonds’ long-awaited downtown restroom. Among the first to try out the new facility was one of the city’s best-known citizens, European travel guru Rick Steves, who was present for the ceremony.
“Every community deserves a centrally located restroom,” declared Steves, who gave a thumbs-up sign after exiting the building.
The new three-room facility, which includes a men’s, women’s and unisex/family room, is located on 5th Avenue South in the parking lot just south of Edmonds City Hall.
City Economic Development and Community Services Director Patrick Doherty told the small crowd gathered to mark the occasion that the restroom will ensure that “people feel more comfortable and spend more time in downtown Edmonds.”
The city has talked about installing a restroom downtown for years, and the facility was ranked as a “very high” priority action item in the City’s Strategic Action Plan. The project finally came to fruition after the Edmonds City Council allocated funds in the city’s 2016 budget.
Given its downtown location, the project was intentionally designed to look more like a traditional building than a typical restroom found in a city park, Doherty noted. The design includes storefront windows with metal faux frames on the Fifth Avenue façade. Those frames will be filled in the next month with informational and historical panels related to Edmonds’ maritime history, arts and culture, and indigenous peoples and resources.
The total cost of the Downtown Restroom was just over $468,000, funded largely by City Real Estate Excise Tax and General Fund monies, with $60,000 in lodging tax as well as grants of $10,000 from the Edmonds Downtown Alliance, $5,000 from the Hubbard Family Foundation and $5,000 from the Edmonds Noon Rotary Club.
The restroom will be open from dawn to dusk throughout the year and will be maintained by city custodial staff.
— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel