Civic Park: Creating a legacy, from vision to reality | City Corner

By Carrie Hite | Jun 09, 2017
Carrie Hite

Parks play a vital role in the community. From gathering areas, nature trails, places for physical activity and festivals, they provide opportunities for increased quality of life.

They also provide valuable health benefits to communities. Nearly 40 years of research evidence confirms that nearby nature, including parks, gardens, urban forests and green spaces, support human health and wellness

The city of Edmonds elected officials and citizens had the foresight to keep their eye on a prize, namely Civic Field (now to be referred to as Civic Park).

This 8-acre gem in downtown Edmonds is prime for a signature park, a legacy, for current and future generations.

It is unique that such an old city, steeped in history and built out to the seams, has an opportunity to create an 8-acre park in the downtown core. One could liken this opportunity to the Olmsted vision, including Central Park in New York, parks all over Boston, and key signature parks in Seattle.

This property was identified in the comprehensive plan in the 1970s. The goal – acquire this land and create a downtown park. Today, this goal is closer to reality.

Recently, the city purchased this gem from the Edmonds School District. Over the past year, hundreds of residents, the mayor, the Planning Board and City Council have all been part of a robust community conversation about what this park could be for Edmonds.

The City Council adopted a final master plan for the park in February.

The adopted plan includes both active and passive spaces, areas for community events and festivals, walking paths, meandering paths and connections to downtown, a large grassy open field for sports or drop-in gathering areas, a skate park, pétanque courts, play area, tennis court and a multiuse sport court and picnic area.

Now the fun begins.

How does a community bring a park from concept to reality? The city was fortunate that 80 percent of the acquisition of this property was paid for by grants. The development will be a bit different. There are only so many grant funds available for park development.

How does a city this size come up with the $10 million price tag? It isn't easy, but it’s doable!

The city has some funds budgeted this year to start the process. A complete survey, geotechnical work and the beginnings of the design development process will happen.

In addition, the stadium grandstand will be removed toward the end of the year.

The city is already looking for grant funds, partners and researching options to fund the project.

In 2018, the Recreation Conservation Office opens its local parks grant cycle, which the city will be both eligible and competitive for funds.

Other options the city will research include Snohomish County, foundations and private funders. In addition, there will likely be a piece of the pie that will need to include either bond funding or a voter-approved initiative. It will take everyone in the community to help make this a reality.

Any and all ideas are welcome!

President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, "If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”

#Carrie Hite is Edmonds' Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director.#

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