It is so amazing to see all the great thoughts MEN readers have on so many topics. The logic, passion, and commitment to ideas is beyond description. The Connector: signs, people, petitions, and all the social media stuff show us all that when folks focus on an idea … things happen. The key is often getting all folks focused, like the rays of the sun through a magnify glass.
Rebecca Elmore-Yalch set the stage of some creative thinking in her MEN Letter to the editor: Three takeaways from the Connector controversy. It is a carefully crafted piece causing us all to reflect on how we can do better in the future. Some felt they did not have the opportunity to contribute during the formation stage while other felt they were limit on what they could talk about during the public sessions.
Many of us have had the opportunity to participate in the 3 Practices sessions. It was a learning experience for us all to listen more intently and to ask questions more thoughtfully to help us all to understand what is being said while not passing judgement on what was being said. Great conversations and I would guess all who attended and learned some of the practices are better equipped to comment and seek a clearing understanding of what others are saying.
The goal for this discussion is to provide a “focused” discussion on a topic in a way to generate ideas from MEN readers. Gathering ideas early can lead to a better public process on important issues. With Teresa’s permission and endorsement there are some proposed “suggested rules” to keep us on track.
- Stay on topic and save analysis and criticism of ideas from others for later.
- Try to build on the ideas of others
- Try not to use the ideas of others as a trigger to trot out what has already been said elsewhere.
The first step will be to generate ideas. When the generation of ideas slows we will summarize and build another discussion session which will allow a more critical analysis of the ideas and likely begin to encourage a more complete discussion of some of the ideas presented and blend in other competing “real world” issues like costs, feasibility and public wishes.
The first topic (and maybe last if this discussion does not produce new ways of thinking and working together) is:
“We the public, via the State of Washington, are about to become the owners of the Union Oil property south of Dayton, west of State Hwy 104, and east of BNSF tracks.”
As background you can read about the what the State of Washington says about this property in the ferry system strategic plan. You can also find a great deal of detail in the study work that was done to assess emergency access to the waterfront.
The initial ownership will be us, as State of Washington taxpayers. Another angle could be to look at the site as potential owners as taxpayers of Edmonds. The third angle is to look at the site as potential buyer or user if the State decides to sell or give the property to others like a developer, the school district or Native Americans.
Put on your 3 thinking caps (State, Edmonds, others) and start generating some ideas of how we can use this property. It is about 22 acres, retail value of $20M to 30M.
Here’s an idea that has been kicked around to get us going on ideas and how best to present them for this discussion.
“Edmonds needs parking for Ferry and Train commuters, Waterfront Center Users, Visitors for every day activities and special events like Art Fest, Taste of Edmonds, and July 4th, Saturday market and others. We have 700 plus employee parking permits. Use the area for parking and develop a shuttle system to meet the needs for some of these activities.”
See that was easy — give it a try and offer your idea.
46 years in Edmonds and counting.