Council approves construction of Civic Park, discusses ideas for COVID stimulus funds


Members of Edmonds City Council and Mayor Mike Nelson listen to Director of Economic Development and Community Services Patrick Doherty (top row, center) discuss the intended uses of federal funds under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Edmonds City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to move forward with plans to turn the aging Civic Playfield into the newest park in downtown Edmonds. Ahead of the vote, however, council member Laura Johnson – who asked last week whether the city should move forward on the project – reiterated that the city must prioritize the location of the parks at the exterior of the Edmonds Bowl.

Johnson and board member Adrienne Fraley-Monillas – who was absent from Tuesday’s meeting – both raised concerns last week regarding the Civic Field project, especially given its growing cost and the fact that there are has pockets of the city – like the Hwy 99 neighborhood in Edmonds. – which have very few parks nearby.

Johnson said that while she would vote yes on Tuesday night on construction contracts to build the park, “I am using tonight as an opportunity to highlight the huge disparity that exists in the way Edmonds allocates its community resources.” Hopefully the board – myself included – will start pretending to want to devote time and resources outside of the Bowl and the downtown waterfront, ”she added.

The city plans to take this issue further when updating its Plan for Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (PROS Plan) – a six-year guide to the management and improvement of parks, open spaces , trails, recreation and cultural arts opportunities. A virtual public meeting to discuss the plan is set for July 22 via Zoom.

The contracts approved Tuesday night include an award to A-1 Landscaping and Construction for construction (the total is $ 11.7 million including sales taxes and management reserve) and $ 1.48 million to Walker Macy and KBA for construction support. The base construction offering also includes one of four replacement bids – a proposal to rubberize the current asphalt perimeter route at an additional cost of $ 186,853.

The estimated total cost of construction is $ 13.75 million, which exceeds the current project funding of $ 1.6 million. One option being considered to make up the difference is the issuance of additional bonds – a topic that was discussed at the board’s finance committee meeting on Tuesday evening.

In 2017, city council approved a plan to redevelop Civic Field, with the goal of turning it into a downtown Edmonds park with a range of amenities – among them, sports fields and sports lighting. improved for young people, an inclusive playground, a pedestrian path, a short grove bocce court and a pollinator meadow. The challenges of site design and rising construction costs pushed the price up from its original estimate of $ 12.1 million.

In other business Tuesday night, council considered a proposal from Mayor Mike Nelson for the use of nearly $ 11.9 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to Edmonds for the efforts. recovery from COVID-19.

Calling it the Edmonds Rescue Plan Fund, Nelson proposed creating six programs, which Director of Economic Development and Community Services Patrick Doherty presented to the board on Tuesday:

A city expense account: $ 750,000. This would cover the expenses Edmonds continues to incur in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic “and possible resurgences in the future,” Doherty said, including personnel, equipment and supplies related to maintaining d ” a safe workplace for employees and the public.

Household support: $ 4,150,000. All of these programs would apply to households earning no more than 40% of Edmonds’ median income. This would include up to $ 3 million in grants for housing expenses, food, medical bills, child care, internet access and other household expenses. Up to 400 households can receive grants of up to $ 2,500 in 2021 and 2022, with up to 200 households receiving grants of up to $ 2,500 in 2023 and 2024. In addition, $ 150,000 would be allocated for Utility Bill Support, with one-time grants of up to $ 1,000 for 150 households to help defray expenses related to the Town of Edmonds’ unpaid utility bills. Finally, up to $ 1 million (200 grants of $ 5,000 each or less) would be allocated to one-time grants for home repair, particularly focused on energy saving measures such as roof repairs. , window replacement and HVAC repair / replacement.

Business support: $ 1,125,000. This would include up to $ 200,000 in installments of $ 50,000 per year in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 for general support of Edmond’s small businesses, business districts and the broader business community. . There would also be $ 300,000 allocated to the promotion of tourism in increments of $ 75,000 per year in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 to support the promotion of tourism. And up to $ 625,000 in direct grants would be awarded to small businesses most affected by the economic recession linked to COVID-19. Grants will take the form of individual financial support grants (in the form of loans that are repayable after four months of performance), with grants of 50 grants at $ 10,000 each in 2021 and 25 grants of $ 5,000 or less in 2022. Emphasis will be placed on companies with up to 30 employees, those that have lost at least 50% of revenue due to the pandemic and that have not received more than $ 5,000 in other government support, as well as ” businesses outside of downtown Edmonds owned by people of color, women, veterans and other minorities.

Non-profit support: $ 500,000 would be allocated to help Edmonds nonprofits that have suffered substantial financial losses due to extended shutdowns, downsizing or loss of business.

Retraining : $ 600,000 to provide financial assistance to working adults seeking vocational training, certifications, graduation or other skills upgrades at local community colleges serving Edmonds residents in the form of grants ranging up to $ 5,000 per year per student to cover tuition, fees, supplies and living expenses during the study period.

Green infrastructure: Up to $ 4,768,099 allocated to reimburse the city’s capital expenditures through 2026 associated with green infrastructure projects to improve the quality of stormwater entering Puget Sound, as directed by the American Rescue Plan Act. These projects include Edmonds Marsh water quality and flood control, realignment of the lower Perrinville Creek for flood control and water quality, and green streets and rain gardens. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a green street is a stormwater management approach that integrates vegetation (perennials, shrubs, trees), soil, and technical systems (for example, permeable pavements) to slow, filter and clean stormwater runoff from impermeable surfaces. .

Under federal guidelines, funding would be available to cover expenses between March 31, 2021 and the end of 2026, Doherty said.

Council member Diane Buckshnis asked Doherty how the city decided to allocate funds in various proposed areas. Doherty responded that officials had looked at how the city was using its federal COVID 2020 relief money – via the Edmonds Cares Fund – and “we tried to shape some things that were similar where needed and new where it was.” was necessary, ”he said. For example, with respect to household subsidies, in 2020 the city allocated subsidies of $ 1,000 or $ 1,500 to households of three or more people. “It just wasn’t enough money to make a big difference,” Doherty said. “I’m not saying (this year’s amount) $ 2,500 is going to change their life, but it’s a better amount.” The city has also lowered the required level of income “so we are reaching out to those who need it most,” he added.

Buckshnis said she did not agree with the plan to allocate a substantial portion of federal dollars to green infrastructure projects, which could instead be funded through other means, such as grants. “Personally, I would like the money to be invested in companies or individuals where it could actually make a difference,” she added.

Doherty said he would use board comments received Tuesday evening to revise the proposal and report a new version for board consideration next week.

– By Teresa Wippel


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