Mayor's Message: The gold rush for Civic Field

By Dave Earling | Aug 04, 2016
Dave Earling

My, my, my.

You buy a little-old, 8-acre piece of land in downtown Edmonds for $1.9 million from the school district and the gold rush begins.

I say that in jest. Well, sorta, but I am stunned with the number of "very best" ideas coming forward to fit on 8 acres.

Of course, much of the community involved in the very public process our Parks Department put together have some truly great ideas. Then there are some good ideas, some OK ideas and, well, some challenging ideas.

That said, the fabulous turnout of so many citizens at open houses speaks well of our community. We have a rich history of citizen involvement in Edmonds, and we are proud of that.

Many of us understand that having this large piece of land in the middle of downtown is a rare opportunity, and that there will be many diverse visions of what the outcome should be.

Here are some of the ideas which have been floated with serious intent: a fire truck museum, meandering pathways around the perimeter connecting neighborhoods to downtown; keeping a Boys and Girls Club presence; a campus of athletic fields; restrooms; eight pétanque courts with clubhouse and an adjoining 22,000 square-foot dirt field; keeping all of the existing tennis courts; as well as playgrounds, a skate park and soccer fields.

And there are more.

Tear down the old bleachers. Keep the old bleachers to maintain the storage area underneath. Develop a mixture of active and passive areas. Plant shade trees and gardens. Create a year-round market with a permanent building. Provide for A Taste of Edmonds.

You get the idea ¬– the list goes on.

All this and, of course, keep the neighborhoods happy, too.

Jeez, talk about competing interests!

By my rough estimate, to implement all the ideas we would have to purchase another 10 to 15 acres. I can only assume the adjoining property owners would not think highly of that possibility.

The good news is we still have plenty of opportunity for public input. The bad news is, at the end of the run, we will not be able to satisfy all of the serious-intent ideas.

No matter how else you think of the various options, we still only have 8 acres with which to work. Some ideas will survive, others will not.

We will in fact have to enter the rarified air of compromise. The end result must be what is best for the community. Compromise will be needed for us to complete what should be a legacy project for future generations to enjoy.

If you have yet to weight in, there is another open house scheduled 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, n the Library Plaza meeting room.

Stop by and let us know your thoughts!

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