Hwy 99 police station study, public art proposals among topics covered during Tuesday council committee meetings

Councilmember Will Chen, top, discusses a proposal to conduct a feasibility study on whether it makes sense to move Edmonds’ Public Safety Complex to the Highway 99 area.

Edmonds city councilmembers covered a range of topics during their committee meetings on Tuesday, Among the highlights:

In the Public Safety, Personnel and Planning Committee, the council heard updates from Human Resources Director Jessica Neill Hoyson regarding hiring for the city’s two open director positions — Community Services and Economic Development and Public Works. A total of 41 applications were received for the community services/economic development director job and 18 applications for public works. After narrowing the field of applicants for each position, interviews are likely to be conducted in late March for community services/economic development and in early April for public works, Neill Hoyson said.

Also in that committee, there was a discussion about a proposal from Councilmembers Will Chen and Vivian Olson that came up during the 2022 budget amendment process: to conduct a study on the feasibility of moving the Public Safety Complex from downtown Edmonds to Highway 99. Chen said that having a police station closer to Highway 99 makes sense due to the prevalence of crime in the area. Committee members Laura Johnson and Susan Paine expressed skepticism about the idea, stating it needed more research before any type of committee recommendation to the full council could be made. Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett was asked to weigh in on whether she could see benefits from such a move. Bennett said she is concentrating on getting the police department’s space inside a new satellite office on Highway 99 ready to use, and that she’d have to do more data analysis regarding crime on Highway 99 to determine the benefits of having the entire police station on the highway. Committee members noted that the lease on the satellite office in the Safeway Marketplace Shopping Center runs for three years, so the council has time to think more about the idea.

In the Parks and Public Works Committee, councilmembers heard a presentation from Deputy Parks Director Shannon Burley regarding three city contracts for summer events in 2022: The Edmonds Museum Market, Edmonds Spring Fest, and the Edmonds Arts Festival. In previous years, the Historical Museum sponsored a smaller Garden Market starting in early May, with a larger Summer Market from mid-June through October. This year, the full-size Summer Market will run every Saturday from May 7 – Oct. 8.  The Spring Fest, sponsored by Urban Craft Uprising, will be on the Saturday before Mother’s Day (May 7) at the Frances Anderson Center playfield. The Edmonds Arts Festival will be held on Father’s Day weekend (June 17-19) at the Frances Anderson Center. The event encompass the field, bandshell, Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds Library Plaza and Library Plaza room. Committee members Neil Tibbott and Kristiana Johnson agreed to move all three contracts to the council’s March 15 consent agenda for approval.

A rendering of the Edmonds Floretum Club-commissioned artwork by mosaic artist Jennifer Kuhns, proposed for the southeast corner of the Public Safety Complex.

Also in that committee, councilmembers heard about two public art projects, both of which will be the subject of public hearings at the March 15 council meeting: One is a project by Clark Wiegman for the new Civic Park, highlighted during a recent Edmonds Arts Commission public meeting. The other is from Edmonds Floretum Garden Club, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and wanted to commemorate it by donating an artwork to the city. Edmonds Arts and Culture Manager Frances Chapin told committee members that the garden club worked with the Edmonds Arts Commission on the artist selection process, and also to identify an appropriate downtown location for the work. That location is at the southeast corner of the Public Safety Complex at the corner of Bell Street and 6th Avenue North. The selected artist is Jennifer Kuhns, and her work is a mosaic piece consisting of three flower forms coming out of the ground. The forms will be between 30 and 36 inches high and made of durable material that is easy to maintain and clean, Chapin said.

In addition, the Parks and Public Works Committee had a lengthy discussion about the 2022 Parks, Recreation & Open Space (PROS) Plan capital program, which will be coming to the full council for discussion in the coming weeks.

— By Teresa Wippel

  1. The idea of moving the Public Safety Building (Police Dept.) to Hwy 99 would be a large unnecessary taxpayer expense and it is not worthy of further consideration. The idea that it would put the police closer to the locus of most of the Edmonds crime is a false narrative. First responder police officers are not sitting around the station waiting for a call. They are out in patrol cars all over the city in three shifts a day. There does not seem to be any evidence that EPD has outgrown their current facility so, I suggest the Council focus their attention to more pressing needs of the City.

  2. I don’t see a reason to push for a full move when even the police chief indicates there are other priorities and projects at play.

    Now about those sidewalks (or the lack or / repairs needed)…

  3. The Public Safety Building and City Hall facilities are currently sitting on some extremely valuable dirt and there is very definitely an argument to be made for moving them more toward the center of the city or the 99 Corridor where dirt is a little less expensive. You would have to factor in the cost of whatever upgrades and maintenance the current facilities now need or soon will need and their projected viability into the future. Considering the low amount of parking at the soon to be completed civic park (a want, not a need) close by and the very real possibility of downtown being turned into a walking mall in the near future (a want and not a need), the time is now for the city elected officials and planning board to look at the issue of best possible future use of this valuable dirt. Our town leadership needs to start thinking more in terms of financial priorities and necessities with best practices; and less in terms of idealistic values and fulfilling wants ahead of needs.

  4. The council looked at this about four years ago with the economic development commission. The estimate at that time was about $40 million for a building to be built up along the Highway 99 that doesn’t include purchasing the land. I don’t know if Mr. Chin has ever called the police or not in his area but we usually have two patrol cars along the Highway. You called them and they are very quickly here.
    Not sure how a police station up here is going to help protect the area, just look at the north Seattle precinct.
    I have no doubt that part of the reason for wanting to look at this is to appease some people that want of the land for development that the current police station sits on.
    During the same period four years ago they also wanted to move City Hall up here so they could sell the building for condominiums where it currently sits on fifth Avenue.
    Instead of wasting time as occurred on the five meetings to review the budget that it already been reviewed I suggest they focus on legislative issues.
    I see this as a covert way to pay back supporters since this issue was already struck down.
    Please don’t use the safety along Highway 99 as an excuse for development in the downtown.
    How about start to get sidewalks so people walk safely around the area up here!

  5. I think Adrienne makes some good points here. Using the 40 million number (probably more like 50 million now) to rebuild East of downtown it should be a fairly simple matter to figure out what the current cost of bringing the existing buildings up to new condition will be and if it’s way below the 50M. number the decision is made. If it’s approaching the 50M. number then consideration of a move would be in order perhaps. As far as land cost, the land and buildings downtown would probably sell for way more than enough to cover that and might even be to the city’s advantage financially speaking only.

  6. Estimate of City Hall value including parking lot south of building. Land is $1.5m Building is $6.5 total 8m.
    Budget to upgrade City Hall is $3m? A lot of money to fix and old building.
    Public Safety Complex Land value is $7m Building is $6.5m.
    5-Corners has possible sites
    There are properties along in the HWY 99 area and Esperance has possible sights.
    All sites show land values of less than those of City Hall and Public Safety complex.
    We should think and discuss ideas, sort out the pros and cons and see what might make sense. If we moved all of the city facilities out of DT we not only gain new opportunities for new Economic activity, free up more than 150 parking stalls, and remove the city employee and city related visits from using on street stall. City Hall could be a candidate for a DT hotel. The PS complex could house an indoor year round market. Visitors to the New $15m+ Civic Park would have parking and other amenities to enhance their visit.

  7. Looks like my and Adrienne’s numbers might have been a bit inflated but Darrol’s comment makes my points about the issue very clear.

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