Long wait almost over in Edmonds for public restrooms

EDMONDS — The city’s downtown shopping area, with its Center for the Arts, coffee shops, restaurants, a theater and an independent bookstore, draw visitors from throughout the region.

Its summer market fills Fifth Avenue with customers wending their way among booths selling art work, handmade soaps and fresh produce.

For years, there’s been one missing piece — a public restroom.

That problem will end on Halloween, when the project that the city has been planning all year finally opens.

“Yes, it’s taken a while,” said Patrick Doherty, who directs the city’s economic development and community services.

Planning progressed from what initially was envisioned as “your typical two-room restroom,” he said.

It will be a three-room site with one room for those who may need assistance from another person, such as young children, the disabled, older adults or for those who simply prefer a uni-sex bathroom.

Cost of the prefabricated building, landscaping and permits is $428,637. It will be built in a parking lot south of City Hall on Fifth Avenue. Site preparation is under way.

The opening on Halloween coincides with the city’s annual downtown trick-or-treat festivities.

Local groups donated to the project. They included The Edmonds Downtown Alliance, which donated $10,000; the Edmonds Noon Rotary, which gave $5,000, and the Hubbard Family Foundation, which provided $5,000 for artistic and historical displays, Doherty said.

“We’re thinking about including information about the history of transportation in the area and Native America history and culture,” he said.

Work on landscaping and display cases is expected to wrap up by the end of November, Doherty said.

Cadence Clyborne, a board member of the Edmonds Downtown Alliance, said local businesses have long stepped up to open their restrooms to the public.

Public restrooms, such as those near the ferry terminal or the Port of Edmonds, “are kind of on the outskirts of the downtown core, if you even know they exist, which not a lot of visitors realize,” she said.

Events such as the summer market, the car show, or the upcoming holiday market, which begins Nov. 12, draw people downtown.

“We need to have bathrooms for people to use and feel comfortable staying in downtown for an extended period of time,” she said.

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

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