A sign of the times in Edmonds?

By Brian Soergel | Sep 13, 2018
Courtesy of: Bob Sears Mike McMurray, left, and Mack Benek with a half-scale replica of the “Welcome to Downtown Edmonds” sign.

Local developer Mike McMurray, like many Edmonds residents, really likes the “Welcome to Downtown Edmonds” sign on SR 104 leading into Fifth Avenue South.

But the City of Edmonds wants to replace the crumbling icon with a new sign that more closely matches other directional signs around town. It has the backing of the Washington State Department of Transportation, which is responsible for the state route.

The department made it clear that a new sign has to be easy to read and not a distraction, which may account somewhat for the proposed sign’s simplicity – it reads “Downtown Edmonds.”

But that hasn’t stopped McMurray from trying to keep the old design – even if it’s a new construction.

That’s why he commissioned Mack Benek, a local creative sign and mural artist of more than 50 years, to create a half-scale replica of the “Welcome to Downtown Edmonds sign.

(You can see it in the window of McMurray’s empty store at 519 Main St.)

“If City Council will allow myself and the community to create a 100 percent replica, I’m more than happy to spearhead a Go Fund Me account for 100 percent of the cost,” McMurray said.

He added that he would cover any remaining cost if the goal isn’t reached.

The status of the proposed sign, which was presented to City Council members in July, is up in the air. The majority requested that the proposed sign go back to the drawing board.

“This effort from two citizens was not discussed with the City of Edmonds,” Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite said.

Hite said that Cultural Services Manager Frances Chapin will be reconvening the City’s work group and asking the new sign’s original designer, Clayton Moss, to provide designs consistent with comments brought to the council.

“This effort will begin soon,” Hite said.


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