Edmonds – always evolving | Mayor's Corner

By Dave Earling | May 22, 2018

I'm sure many of you read our city's two publications, the Edmonds Beacon and My Edmonds News. I look to both to find what's going on in town well beyond what I see and hear about.

From top story to sports to columns to features, we are kept pretty well informed.

Recently in the Beacon, I was struck with the juxtaposition of a column by Tim Raetzloff titled "Walnut Street once Edmonds' south boundary" and Brian Soergel's article, "A new look at 6th and Main."

Tim's column had to do with his coming across a 1905 map of Edmonds and describing how our current road going south on Fifth until about Walnut, then meandering to Pine to Sixth to Elm to Elm Way and about 100th, then to King County.

An important point Tim made is while Edmonds does not have the multicentury history of many European cities, we should remember and appreciate our 1905 town was vastly different from today, moving from a small mill town to our current city of more than 42,000.

Brian's article covered Mike McMurray's purchase and planned redevelopment of the southwest corner of Sixth and Main, to be known as Main Street Commons. His evolving plan is to keep much of the shell of the current building (reminiscent of Salish crossing's Safeway?) and a new building adjacent with a courtyard, seating, plantings and parking.

In other words maintaining what is there and adding new ideas.

History is important to me. I can tell you from the first house Susan and I purchased in Edmonds in 1970, we certainly have seen change. I still remember open fields at the top of the hill on 196th, a near barren hill where Emerald Hills stands and a very, very, quiet downtown.

I can only imagine what Edmonds looked, felt and was like in 1905. In my last State of the City presentation, I showed some photographs of much of the evolution of Edmonds, showing how we have changed and yet, at the core, maintained our small-town feel.

Keeping the small-town feel, maintaining our low downtown profile and yet making quality additions are important. The new project at Sixth and Main is a great example, as is the new construction at the old Post Office and across the street, the soon to be Graphite Studios.

One of my long-term goals has been to create a walkable corridor from Sixth and Main to the waterfront. With restaurants, great shopping and improvements then moving south to Salish Crossing, the desired corridor is becoming a reality.

From that 1905 map to today, our community has certainly changed.

And with the continued growth of the Puget Sound region, we know more folks are coming. Our Development Services Department is busy with projects at Westgate and Highway 99 to accommodate some of our potential changes in population, as well as needed jobs and affordable housing.

The Westgate project is under construction. We are completing the Highway 99 project planning and should be ready to begin improvements the end of next year. Walkable neighborhoods are the goal in both areas. And what of Perrinville or Firdale Village? Single and multiple housing units continue to be added throughout the city.

Keep in mind that in the downtown core we will have opportunity to provide other walking corridors besides the one mentioned above to draw our residents and visitors.

The Fourth Avenue Arts Corridor from Main Street to the Edmonds Center for the Arts is a prime candidate, as is Fifth Avenue from the Edmonds Historical Museum south past Ace Hardware. And another prime candidate is the waterfront, from the ferry terminal to beyond the boat harbor.

Just as the maker of the 1905 Edmonds Map could not predict what we have today, we today cannot know what our community will look like in another 50 or 100 years.

It is our charge, however, to think about and shape the community with planning, citizen input and forethought, and good decision making to preserve our heritage and plan for the future.


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