$800K from state will save popular Edmonds fishing pier

EDMONDS — The Edmonds fishing pier, one of city’s best known landmarks, draws thousands of visitors a year.

In addition to the fishermen who often line its walkway, many people stroll the 944-foot L-shaped pier to take in views of mountain ranges, nearby beaches, and a long expanse of Puget Sound.

The venerable pier, which opened in 1975, was at risk of being closed because of the lack of needed upgrades to its foundation, said Carrie Hite, who directs the city’s parks, recreation and cultural services department. “It’s past the end of its lifespan,” Hite said.

The pier will be repaired, rather than shut down, thanks to $800,000 the city recently received from the state. It’s the final piece of funding needed to complete the $1.6 million project.

The pier repair was just one of the local monetary requests approved by the state. Overall, the city received $15.5 million for projects, including money for purchasing eight acres for a downtown park and a major study of a two-mile stretch of Highway 99.

Although the pier repairs will keep the landmark open over the long-term, it will have to be closed for about three months next spring while construction is under way.

“A big part of the degradation of the pier is in the actual foundation,” Hite said. The city tried to figure out a way to do the repairs in stages and keep the pier open. “The railings will be off for a while,” she said. “It would be too dangerous.”

In addition to the recent state funding, the remaining money for the project comes from $100,000 from the city, $200,000 from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and $500,000 from the state’s Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account.

The city received $1.8 million toward purchasing eight acres of land called Civic Field near the Boys &Girls Club at 310 Sixth Ave N. The land now is used for community gatherings and is owned by the Edmonds School District. The city leases the land for $1 a year. Negotiations are under way with the school district to buy the property.

Once obtained, the city will begin a process to see what kind of park the public would like, she said. Connecting trails could be made from the area to downtown.

The state sent the city $10 million for the Highway 99 project, what Mayor Dave Earling calls a long-range plan “trying to figure out what we want the Highway 99 area to look like.” It would involve a section of the highway from the county line to 212th Street S.W. and could take five to 10 years to complete, he said.

“It’s an important piece of the community,” he said, bringing in some $2.3 million in taxes to the city last year. That’s roughly four times the $578,000 in taxes from businesses in the downtown area.

The goal would be to make the Highway 99 area more of a “people place,” more walkable and more like a neighborhood, Earling said.

With new restaurants, grocery stores and the development of an international district, the pieces are beginning to come together, Earling said. “We need to find ways to encourage positive development there.”

Other projects paid for with the state money include: $250,000 for repairs to the leaky roof at the Edmonds Center for the Arts; $634,000 for a storm water filtration project at Meadowdale Park to reduce peaks flows, erosion and pollutants in Perrinville Creek, a tributary of Puget Sound; $500,000 for a study of how to fix the traffic problems caused by frequent train trips through the downtown area and $1.25 million for redevelopment of the Edmonds Senior Center.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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