The number-one question about Harbor Square

By Bob McChesney, Executive Director, Port of Edmonds | Feb 16, 2012

"How I can get my name on the list for one of those new condos."

This wasn't the first such phone call that we received recently, nor I suspect will it be the last.

Our Harbor Square Redevelopment mailings have generated a lot of interest. And, not unexpectedly, a lot of misunderstanding.

Although it clearly says so, let me reiterate: the mailer does not show a final plan for future development of Harbor Square.

Rather the intent is to show what could be, not in specific detail, but as a concept of the sort of things that the Harbor Square property could become.

It gives the reader an idea of the types of mixed use business and residential structures that could be developed.

It shows the almost negligible view impact they will have and the many benefits that will accrue to the existing businesses and current residents of Edmonds.

In short, it shows how the people of Edmonds can literally have their cake and eat it too, how we can grow, have greater economic development, a healthier tax base and at the same time maintain the quality of life that we all value so highly.

So how far away are we from actually building those condos that people have been calling about?

The long answer is measured in years, several of them, not weeks or months. The steps are numerous, lengthy and complex.

Greatly oversimplified, here is what has to happen.

First, we have to complete the public input process.

We earlier assembled a steering group comprising leading citizens from all walks of life and representing every identifiable point of view.

We have held public meetings where we received additional input from anyone who cared to voice an opinion.

We offered show-and-tell illustrations of various ideas and, finally, we incorporated the most workable of those into a detailed mailer send to every mailing address in Edmonds and Woodway.

All of this will lead ultimately to the selection of a preferred alternative by the Port Commissioners -- your elected representatives -- distilled from the combined wisdom of the steering committee, the countless hours of public input and practical realities.

After further vetting, the result will be presented to the Edmonds City Council for inclusion in their Comprehensive Plan.

It is at this point that we can begin to entertain proposals from interested planners, architects and developers.

Once these people are chosen and contracts are awarded we can actually begin to talk seriously with people who, like the caller quoted at the beginning of this piece, are interested in becoming a part of this exciting new phase of life in our wonderful city.

We are delighted at your interest and we will continue to welcome your ideas and constructive comments throughout the process.

The future for the Edmonds waterfront looks bright and we at the Port of Edmonds pledge to continue doing our part to guide that future in ways that will benefit us all.

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