A key decision facing the Edmonds City Council during its Tuesday, Aug. 22 business meeting: Whether to allocate $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to pay for a consultant to dig deeper into the city’s proposed purchase of 10-plus acres in southeastern Edmonds.
The asking price for the property that would comprise the Landmark 99 purchase is $37 million. During its June 27 meeting, the council voted 3-1 with two abstentions and one absence to authorize Mayor Mike Nelson to sign an option agreement for the possible future purchase of the site.
The city put down a $100,000 deposit that is refundable if the council chooses not to pursue it by the end of the year. Some of the ideas put forth so far for the site include parkland, a community or civic center, a police station and affordable housing.
The $250,000 staff is requesting for the project was originally allocated for facade improvements to businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic. Staff admitted they have not advertised the facade program — approved by the council as part of the city’s 2023 budget — because they determined it would be difficult to administer.
In its agenda memo for the Aug. 22 meeting, staff acknowledged that during the council’s Aug. 15 meeting, “some councilmembers voiced concerns” about using funds for consultant this early in the process.
“An acquisition of this size requires consultant services in due diligence, master planning, and development/ financial consulting to properly vet the property and to share robust analysis with the council and community that factors into decision making,” the agenda memo states.
“Our discussions with peer cities, along with our professional experience, have led us to this budget request,” the memo concluded. “Staff has done extensive research to outline a project approach, along with consultant needs, that is both lean and thorough. Council authorization of these funds will afford staff the tools to get the answers council will need to make the decision on whether to move forward; it is yet to be determined whether they will uncover insurmountable roadblocks or reveal a clear, financially prudent path to addressing our community’s needs on this site.”
Also on the council agenda for Tuesday night:
– Report on city fund balance reserve and contingency reserve balance
– Storm and Surface Water Comprehensive Plan update
– Resolution thanking ECA Executive Director Joe McIalwain
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Aug. 22 in the council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N., Edmonds. You can watch remotely via this Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/95798484261. Or watch by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261.
Regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the council meeting webpage (where you can also view the complete agenda), Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.