Sunset Avenue Walkway has no direction

By Laura Daniali | Apr 03, 2014

Edmonds city staff will head back to the drawing board for the Sunset Avenue Walkway Project after receiving feedback on Tuesday from the Edmonds City Council.

Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said the council is “all over the map” in terms of which direction to go with the project.

Council President Diane Buckshnis echoed those words regarding the council, but said the public has given clear, direct feedback.

Suggested alternatives included: going forward with a redesign of the walkway beginning at Edmonds Street and headed south, adding a walkway to the east side of Sunset Avenue, removal of the project from the Capital Improvement Project (CIP), or termination.

“I am ready to discuss terminating the project,” Councilmember Joan Bloom said.

“I have no interest, as a councilmember, in allocating any citizen funds whether they’re federal, state or City of Edmonds funds to enhance, develop or improve property that does not belong to us.”

Bloom said the project is not vetted by citizens, and she does not want to spend $1.2 million on a project with so many unknown factors.

A portion of the walkway would be built on private property owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company.

A total of $70,000 in grant money has been spent on the planning phase thus far.

“I presume if we take this off the CIP or make some major modification, we should prepare ourselves to refund whatever money we have spent,” Mayor Dave Earling said. “It’s an exercise in futility as far as the staff is concerned.”

City Attorney Jeff Taraday will advise the council on the likelihood of refunding all or part of the grant money at a later date.

He said he needs additional time to look into the CIP, and advise on what changes would and would not be allowed under grant funding.

Buckshnis said she would like to remove the project from the CIP for now, gather citizen input, and possibly place it back into the budget at a later date.

“Let’s try to figure out how we can morph it back into the whole public process, and make sure we try to get everybody on board,” Buckshnis said.

The mayor requested time to meet with city staff to plan for “variations on a theme,” and said he will let council know how much time is needed to revise the current designs.

A public hearing to review the new designs will be scheduled.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Tere Ryder | Apr 04, 2014 20:39

The City Of Edmonds needs to return ALL of the money from the grants.  Some of the answers on the grant form were questionable.  These are Federal grants requiring exact information. These are also grants of NEED, not want.

The staff should have thought about the "exercise in futility" as quoted by Mayor Earling, when it spent over one million (with nothing to show for it right now but lots of talk) without any feedback from the citizens of Edmonds as to whether they would even want this.

The Mayor and the Staff work for the citizens of Edmonds,  not the other way around......This is in the constitution for the State Of Washington.  It is unbelievable that the city would spend over one million on something that was supposedly suggested by ONE citizen in Edmonds, without letting the public KNOW about this.

.......The citizens are NOT interested in a "variations on a theme".......I think spending one million with absolutely no input from the citizens of Edmonds  is quite a variation already. We don't even OWN part of the land that the project will USE!

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