Edmonds to pay full cost of Senior Center parking lot improvements


Last updated 12/6/2018 at Noon

The Edmonds Senior Center, which has seen the price for its planned Edmonds Waterfront Center increase to $16 million from $11 million, has received an early Christmas gift from the City of Edmonds.

City Councilmembers have agreed to pay for the full cost of a new parking lot and frontage improvements. Under a previous agreement, a 40-year contract signed in 2015, the costs were to be split in half.

That means the senior center is off the hook for $933,000, and the City is responsible for the new price tag, currently at $1.66 million.

The City owns the land, but signed a ground-lease option for the nonprofit Senior Center to raise funds and build the two-story, 26,000-square-foot Waterfront Center.

“Due to the increasing construction costs, through no fault of the Senior Center or the City of Edmonds, the council felt it would be appropriate to pay the full cost of the parking lot and frontage improvements located on city property,” Councilmember Mike Nelson said.

“The public will also be using the parking lot to access new city park improvements that will include a naturally restored beach, a boat launch, and walkway.”

Senior Center Executive Director Farrell Fleming said the agreement will help forward the Waterfront Center’s progress. About $12 million has been raised so far, with $4 million coming from European travel writer and TV host Rick Steves of Edmonds.

Fleming has noted that, in the past, the City had $10 million in its capital improvement plan for many years to replace the Senior Center, but that has been removed.

The City recognized in 2013 that the Senior Center would be much better at raising the money to build the Waterfront Center, he added, and recognized the desperate need for a new building and to move quickly.

“We were very pleased with the City Council’s decision to accept the amended ground lease,” Fleming said. “It is an important milestone for the Waterfront Center project, and a testament to the enduring partnership between the Senior Center and the City that has served the citizens of Edmonds for over 50 years.”

Farrell said he plans to submit a building permit in the coming weeks.

“Subject to permitting and fundraising, we are on track to break ground in the spring. Continuing the fundraising momentum is paramount – that is why we continue to seek gifts large and small from the community.”

Plans are for the City to remove the old creosote pier in front of the parking lot, reintroducing beach habitat and making the public walkway along the beach continuous in front of the Ebb Tide condos. The latter, however, is currently in litigation, according to City Attorney Jeff Taraday.

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Plans also call for storm treatment, bioswales and rain gardens – water is currently not treated at the site.

Parks, Recreation and Parks Director Carrie Hite – who said the City would be responsible for maintaining the parking lot – said Mayor Dave Earling has set aside $250,000 from the City’s budget to help pay for the improvements. More funds will come from real estate excise taxes.

Hite said the City now supports the nonprofit Senior Center with $75,000 a year for capital needs.

The Senior Center is to pay for the entire cost of the Waterfront Center, which is envisioned as a place for all ages. The plan is to continue to make senior activities available during the day, with multigenerational activities taking place from 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and during mutually agreed on times and dates.


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