From the Edmonds Mayor: Great projects

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Mayor Dave Earling

I have written before about several large projects the community currently has in play. All have made good progress and are all in various stages of development. Yet they do not all follow a “common” process. All are complicated and often carry their own frustrations and rewards.

An update seems to be in order. The first and most recent is the successful progress on the Waterfront Center. This past Tuesday, City Council gave permission to take down the current Senior Center and begin construction of this new senior center/community center. Although not all of the funds have yet been raised, the council is convinced there is a clear path forward for funding, and construction will begin soon.

The Civic Park project also took a large step forward a week or so ago. The council had a thorough update on what will eventually become a magnificent 8-acre park in the heart of downtown. The eventually $12 million project has already assembled $9.3 million, and following the presentation the council gave the go-ahead to the current plan.

Related to Civic Park, citizens offered comments expressing concerns over parking related to the project. Several helpful suggestions for parking around the periphery of the property were given by councilmembers, but in the end the council understood that major project like this must not be stopped, altered and redesigned after the comprehensive, advanced planning, public involvement and successful fundraising that has already taken place.

We recently took up the restoration of our marsh. As many of you know, there is great community support to restore this unique environmental asset. The council set aside $1.3 million in the 2019 budget as a sign of our early commitment. We have been working with our local state legislators and the Governor’s office as well as other state agencies, and have made good progress. We will be going to Washington, D.C. in May to meet with our congressional delegation on the marsh and other city business.

The Waterfront Connector is a $27 million project intended to provide emergency-response access for our community at those times when both the Main and Dayton Street rail crossings are blocked, as has happened for extended periods seven or eight times since I have been in office, and occurs daily for shorter periods. During these periods, emergency response to the Waterfront is entirely cut off. Safety is our highest priority! Beyond the safety provided, it would also provide year round pedestrian access to the waterfront for walking and bicycles.

The Connector will be only one lane wide and will not be used for general automobile access. Agreeing that public safety and reliable emergency response is vital, the state has contributed $6 million and the Port of Edmonds $1.5 million for the project, and we have a request in to BNSF for a contribution also. We continue to work with the state and federal government for additional funding.

Highway 99 improvements are the most ambitious. Our two-and-a-half-mile stretch of this highway, while successful on many fronts, needs to also see dramatic upgrades. We have three distinct areas, which include the “Gateway” area featuring our quality automobile dealerships, the lively International District, and the successful Health Care District, centered around Swedish Medical Center.

The long-term goal for Highway 99 is to put in place substantial traffic safety and pedestrian improvements, while encouraging new development along the corridor, featuring buildings with retail and business space on the main level and affordable housing units above. The long-term goal is to develop the a string of mixed-use neighborhoods with gathering places, plazas and open space, a variety of goods and services, not to mention the traffic safety and pedestrian improvements.

The estimated long-term cost is $175 million-$200 million and will take years to complete. The Legislature has provided the initial $10 million for planning and traffic improvements. Most of the funding will require state funding and grants. With the zoning amendments provided by the council, changes and improvements are already under way, with a new car dealership and a large apartment complex.

All of the projects above will take community and leadership commitment. We have over time been able to earn the respect of our Legislature and federal officials, who have supported these projects in principal and with funding. What’s more, we have department directors and staff in place with the needed disciplines to help make these projects a reality. We simply need to “put our shoulders to the wheel” and follow through. Easy talk, hard work.

— By Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling

8 Replies to “From the Edmonds Mayor: Great projects”

  1. This is a great update, one area I was hoping to see addressed that we don’t typically is how we are better serving homelessness. Edmonds does very little on its own, mostly private, and Lynnwood has some larger programs but I am not sure how regional planning works.

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  2. At the risk of being accused of hypocrisy, for questioning already settled projects. I’m curious to know what the city has spent on law suits so far, because people were trapped by train traffic and suffered adverse consequences as a result? I’m curious to know how many people have died or been permanently injured as a result of not having access to prompt emergency care to date? I’m curious to know why Edmonds officials think State and Federal funds aren’t really costing taxpayers any money? According to the Mayor we are going to spend 27 Million $ of someone’s money on this Connector. Sure seems like two signs saying “enter this area at your own risk” would be a lot cheaper.

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  3. Yes, it’s time to work on Hwy 99 as it has been many years since it was last visited. The vast
    chasm, from west side to the east, still remains with all the danger involved with the Hwy. Untold
    number of people have been killed, or injured, due to car wrecks or vehicle/pedestrian encounters.

    And there remains the work to improve the overall safety of the Hwy. The north end, from 212th, southward to 220th has improved due to the work and investments made by a good number of businesses. From Magic Toyota, down to Matt Steiner and his work at 220th, this portion of Hwy. 99
    has improved on it’s own.

    But basically from 220th, heading southward, nothing has happened to improve the Hwy. This needs to change, and soon.

    Many thanks.

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  4. Great to see the improvements for all to enjoy. One comment mentioned we should do something for homelessness. Homelessness should not be a problem in Edmonds, there are many places to live in the United States that are more affordable. People on the other hand should not move to an area they can not afford to live in. I suggest those that want to help, may want to open extra bedrooms in their home for those in need. Adding a “Tiny Home” in their back yard is also worthwhile.

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    1. 90% of Edmonds homelessness is from residents living here who did have homes but lose them.

      That’s besides the point, you are clearly to callous or or just don’t care to understand real problems in society.

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      1. We have strayed off the original topic, but that is ok with me.
        Life has its ups and downs, as does the economy. I have lost a home, and another time was forced to sell my home. As much as I love San Francisco, or Seattle many know that unless you are financially able you do not move there. As an immigrant my family rented space for a few months in someone’s basement, today many would consider we were homeless. There are five things young people should know to be successful in the United States.
        First finish school. Do not get pregnant until you have been married for a while. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. Get a job. Take classes in speaking and writing in English.

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  5. In the supposed richest country in the World, homelessness shouldn’t be a problem pretty much anywhere, one would think. As to putting a tiny house in the back yard, Edmonds pretty much doesn’t allow that right now. Affordable housing and homelessness are frequently two different issues. The difficulty for those trying to help solve these two related, but often different problems is sorting out the truly deserving of help from those who have just made bad life decisions and ended up where they are as a result. An age old problem for charity in general. Part of the problem also stems from society viewing substance addiction as a crime, rather than a disease. Alcoholism has been recognized as a disease for years now. For me this all comes down to what kind of society you want to live in. People living in tents and dying in the public woods isn’t too appealing to me.

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  6. Mr. Brecht is right about the basics of being successful but this is an over simplification of what it actually takes to be successful in the U.S. My wise mother told me early on that I would never have anything unless I thought like rich people. She said the laws of the U.S. are pretty much written by the wealthy with the idea of perpetuating and keeping that wealth. She said always pay yourself first, save money, and invest in stock programs where you work, and buy, don’t rent, real estate as much as possible. Our entire economy is based on 80 % of the population being financially illiterate and willing victims. The crash of ’08 for example. Userus education loans, phoney private universities, and payday loan gouging for other examples. I just don’t buy that bad government and poor education, at all levels, aren’t helping cause lots of our social problems.

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