Story and photos by Larry Vogel
Thursday marked the official start of an improvement project designed to enhance the identity and branding of Edmonds’ International District.
Stretching along Highway 99 between approximately 238th and 224th Streets, the Edmonds International District is home to an array of businesses with an international flavor. This mile-long stretch, which includes restaurants and cafes, grocery and drug stores, alternative medicine practitioners, variety stores and more, weaves together elements of Asian, Mediterranean, Hispanic and other cultures, literally bringing the world to Edmonds’ backyard.
Focusing on the stretch between 230th and 224th Streets, the project centers on lighting and streetscape improvements designed to create a visual gateway for the district, improve illumination and pedestrian safety, and enhance economic development. Signage, lantern-style lighting and other improvements will mark the district for pedestrians and motorists while enhancing user safety and friendliness. The project also includes transforming the current island at the intersection of 76th Avenue West and Highway 99 into a focal point with textured concrete and signature lighting.
Speaking at the groundbreaking, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling stressed the importance of this project in bringing Edmonds businesses together. “When we think of Edmonds businesses, we need to think beyond downtown,” he said. “The Edmonds International District is an important piece of our city’s business community. This project gives solid acknowledgement to businesses that have been part of our community for years, but due to location have not received the emphasis they deserve.
Funded entirely through federal grants, work is set to begin on Oct. 4. The project is expected to be complete by around the first of the year.