By Mina Williams Herald writer
EDMONDS — Edmonds’ Parks Department is looking to add concessions in the city’s heavily trafficked parks this spring.
At the urging of Parks Director Carrie Hite, council is considering changing the city code to allow for concession sales in the parks. Both food and recreation offerings are being contemplated, from paddle boat rentals to classic hot dog and soda pop carts.
“The waterfront parks are the most utilized,” Hite said. “There are so many people in those parks and they have to get into their cars to get a sandwich.”
She envisions those parks as the ones that could best support concessionaires – in particular, Marina Beach Park north of the ferry terminal. Yost Pool could also use some sort of food operation, she said. It only has vending machines.
Another area she hopes to evaluate whether to enter into concession agreements with private operators who use Edmonds parks for classes, including “Boot Camp” workout sessions.
“We now have unpermitted public land being used for private gain,” she said. “If the code can be changed then we would have agreements, ensure the operator had insurance and the city would make some money.”
The move to change the code was spurred when Hite was challenged to look at a different business model for the parks.
“Due to the budget we needed to make cuts, and I thought that we could increase revenue instead to maintain the residents’ level of service,” she said. “We have to look at ways of doing business differently.”
For example, the parks department stands to gain $50,000 as a result of a 15 percent increase in program fees for people who don’t live in the city limits, Hite said.
She is accepting proposals from concessionaires for the upcoming season, May through September.
“We will evaluate applications to find the best fit for the park system,” she said.
Hite can be reached at 425-771-0230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.