The Edmonds City Council had some serious business to attend to Tuesday night, from establishing the parameters of a new Citizens Housing Commission to grappling with the aesthetics of small cell wireless facilities aimed at accommodating 5G technology. But they did address one item sure to bring joy to the faces of their youngest constituents: approving a design for the city’s first inclusive playground in Edmonds.
The approved design for Seaview Park — by All Play Systems — came after the community had a chance to vote on their favorite design out of three included in a survey.
The park will feature a poured-in-place rubber surface that is latex-free, non-toxic and seamless for those utilizing mobility devices. Ensuring families have that type of access was a priority for Councilmember Mike Nelson, whose amendment during the 2019 budget deliberations added $200,000 to begin the process of making Edmonds’ playground surfaces accessible to all people with disabilities.
Nelson’s amendment came after he heard from Seaview residents Julie and Rich Kuehn, whose 3-year-old son Jacob uses a walker due to cerebral palsy — and has a hard time navigating the park’s current wood chip surface.
City Deputy Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Burley said the selected design includes a balance of interactive components, climbing and swing features. The swings, in particular, were a high priority for the Seaview community, she said, and the new playground will feature a toddler swing, ADA swing and disc swing, plus a second swing area with four belt swings — for a total of seven.
The council unanimously authorized a contract of $209,908.62, which includes $90,000 allocated for the inclusive playground.
Both Nelson and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite noted that the goal is to add inclusive elements to playgrounds across the city over time, since the city refurbishes one of its playgrounds every year. Hite also said the hope is to incorporate inclusive elements into the design for the new Civic Park.
“This is just the start,” Nelson said.
Also on Tuesday night, the council begin sorting out the details of how to best create a Citizens Housing Commission, after an earlier attempt to develop a citywide housing strategy drew vocal opposition. Among the items addressed Tuesday night were how citizens will be notified about the commission and their opportunity to apply (a postcard will be mailed to all residents); how many members and alternates the commission should have (15 total, plus one alternate for each position, with 28 of those appointed by the council and two by the mayor); whether the meetings should be facilitated (yes) and how often they should meet (monthly). Under the proposal under consideration, which will come back at a later date as an official resolution for council approval, the commission would complete its work by Dec. 21, 2020.
During the public comment period, two people spoke on the housing issue. One of them — Wendy Shaw — read a letter, signed by 30 Edmonds residents, encouraging the council to establish a Citizens Housing Commission “that will include a comprehensive cross section of Edmonds residents including a ratio of renters to owners. Hopefully this will result in providing Council with realistic housing policy options that will expand the supply of housing options while maintaining Edmonds’ character and quality of life,” the letter said.
In addition, the council further discussed the rules related to the siting of small cell wireless facilities, which will be the topic of a public hearing at next week’s March 26 council meeting. We’ll have more on that issue in a separate story soon.
In other action Tuesday, the council:
-Approved a bid of $6.1 million from Shoreline Construction for the Dayton Street Utility Replacement Program. The project — to be completed in two phases — will replace the existing water, sewer and storm pipes on Dayton between 3rd and 5th, rehabilitate existing sewer main and/or sewer services on Dayton between 5th and 9th and replace existing water and sewer pipes between 5th and 9th. Construction for phase 1 (2nd to 5th Avenues) is expected to begin in April and be completed by October of this year. Phase 2 (5th to 9th Avenues) will start in spring 2020 and be completed by October 2020.
– Approved an amendment to a contract for design services for the Edmonds Waterfront Restoration Project
– Heard the Municipal Court Annual Report from Judge Linda Coburn and a presentation from the Edmonds Citizens’ Tree Board.
– Appointed Ashley Song to the Edmonds Arts Commission Position 6.
– Announced reappointment of the following commissioners to the Citizens Economic Development Commission: Nicole Hughes, Kevin Harris and Jamie Reece.
— By Teresa Wippel