City: Positive signs from Olympia for Edmonds projects

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector, comprising a single-lane roadway linking Sunset Avenue to Brackett’s Landing Park, giving access to the waterfront regardless of train traffic and track blockages.

While Washington State legislators propose and consider billions in state spending on issues ranging from school funding to major transportation projects to affordable housing, several projects of great importance to the Edmonds community are also being favorably considered, the City of Edmonds said in an announcement Friday.

And although final decisions are far from made, budget proposals from both chambers of the Legislature include funding for Edmonds priorities.

Transportation budgets in both the State Senate and House include $700,000 for continued design, environmental and permitting work for the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector, which provides an emergency, single-lane structure over the railroad tracks as an alternative to the at-grade rail crossings at Main and Dayton Streets. This approximately $29 million project will provide access for emergency vehicles, as well as ferry off-loading or on-loading with the assistance of traffic control officers when train breakdowns block the two crossings.

Both Senate- and House-proposed capital budgets include $391,000 for substantial repairs to the leaky roof of the Frances Anderson Center, as well as $2.25 million towards the $11 million new Waterfront Center, the city said. To date, up to $5 million has been raised or pledged toward this proposed redevelopment of the existing Edmonds Senior Center on the waterfront. An additional $2 million dollars in donations is in the works. If the state ends up allocating funds and these additional donations come through, proponents indicate the Waterfront Center project could start up as soon as spring 2018. While not a city project, the new Waterfront Center is located on city property and would serve the entire community.

Finally, related to the Waterfront Center project, the City of Edmonds is also proposing a substantial rehabilitation and restoration of the beach at that location, including natural beach features, greatly improved public access and a hand-boat launch. The Senate and House capital budgets propose $500,000 toward this approximately $2 million project.

“While these budget proposals are still under consideration by the respective chambers, they are very good signs for our community and I wish to thank our local legislative delegation for their hard work on these funding requests,” said Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling. “There is still a great deal of work to be done to lock in these state contributions, but we are optimistic and will continue to work with key players in the Legislature to secure this funding for our community.”

The city noted that the state funding proposals mentioned are still under consideration and that budget discussions will occupy a great deal of state legislators’ attention over the remainder of the legislative session, which is scheduled to end on April 23. However, most insiders predict the state Legislature will vote to extend the session well into the late spring or early Summer as they grapple with tough revenue and expenditure decisions, the announcement said.

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