What’s with the hole on Main Street?

The Main Street Commons stormwater detention vault currently under construction at Sixth and Main in downtown Edmonds. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

Ever since the huge hole appeared at the southwest corner of Sixth and Main, people have been asking what it is, why it’s there, and what it will become.

Is it a swimming pool?  Maybe underground parking?  Something else?

“I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this,” said Mike McMurray, who is in the thick of developing the corner into the Main Street Commons. McMurray envisions the location as a community gathering place that offers everything from an indoor game room targeted to young people, a patio, a soundstage, retail shops, and food offerings varying from pizza to ice cream to an authentic New York style delicatessen – and that’s just the top of the list.

So what about the hole?

Turns out it’s an underground stormwater detention vault, among the many requirements of McMurray’s building permits. By holding back water during major rains and flooding events and releasing it slowly into the stormwater drainage system rather than letting it all flow in at once, stormwater detention vaults are an important piece of modern infrastructure aimed at avoiding those lakes of axle-deep water that collect in intersections during major rainstorms.

The stormwater detention vault will be under the Commons patio area, as shown in this rendering.

While it may not be as exciting as a new swimming pool, this structure will serve a big purpose as it resides below grade and out of sight under the future Main Street Commons patio. While you’ll never see it and probably will never think about it as you sip coffee or munch on pizza at your patio table, it will be just under your feet, quietly helping control and regulate runoff water, mitigating local flooding during heavy rains, and giving a boost to the city’s storm drainage system.

“We’re looking to have the vault done by the end of this week,” said McMurray. “There will be a crane coming in on Thursday to place the prefabricated concrete slabs that form the wall, and once these are in place the whole thing will be buried.

“It really makes sense when you think of stormwater runoff challenges in Edmonds,” he continued. “This will help my project do its part to help mitigate its contribution to those issues.”

While he hopes all phases of the project go smoothy and allow Main Street Commons to open to the public by year’s end, McMurray says that a realistic date will be sometime during the first half of 2022.

Learn more about the Main Street Commons in our earlier stories here, here and here.

— By Larry Vogel

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