More discussion on Civic Field, use of American Rescue Plan funds on July 13 council agenda

The Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday, July 13, business meeting is scheduled to further discuss the planned redevelopment of Edmonds Civic Field — a topic that generated much debate last week. The council is also set to review a proposal by Mayor Mike Nelson for using nearly $11.9 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds being allocated to Edmonds.

The city has been working since 2017 to find ways to fund the Civic Field project — estimated in 2017 to cost $12.1 million. But now, with challenges related to site design and increasing construction costs, the project faces an even higher price tag of between $13.5 million and $15 million.

During the July 13 meeting, the council will consider whether to award a construction contract to the low bidder — A-1 Landscaping and Construction — and approve the additional funding necessary via two other construction contracts to build the park. In addition to the base bid, the council will consider four bid alternates, each with an additional price tag. They include an interactive water feature at the park entrance, a scramble/climbing wall, a proposal to rubberize the current asphalt perimeter path and the addition of metal tree grates.

Last week, Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Laura Johnson questioned whether the city should move forward at all with the downtown project, given its increasing cost — especially in light of the fact that there are pockets of the city — such as Edmonds’ Highway 99 neighborhood — that have very few parks nearby.

Regarding how to use the federal COVID-19 recovery money approved by Congress earlier this year, Mayor Nelson has proposed creating five programs — named the Edmonds Rescue Plan Fund — that would benefit from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) total allocation of $11,893,099:

Household support: $4,150,000. This would include up to $3 million in grants to households earning no more than 40% of Edmonds median income for housing expenses, food, medical bills, child care, internet access and other household expenses. Up to 400 households may 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, there would $150,000 allocated for utility bill support, with one-time grants of up to $1,000 for 150 households to help defray expenses derived from outstanding City of Edmonds utilities bills. Finally, up to $1 million (200 grants at $5,000 each or less) would be allocated for one-time grants for housing repair, especially focused on energy-saving measures such as roof repair, 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 Edmonds small businesses, business districts and the overall business community. There would also be $300,000 allocated to tourism promotion in installments of $75,000 per year in 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 for support of tourism promotion. And up to $625,000 in direct grants would be provided to small businesses most affected by the COVID-19-related economic recession. Grants will take the form of individual financial support grants (in the form of loans that are forgivable after four months of performance), with awards of 50 grants at $10,000 each in 2021 and 25 grants of $5,000 or less  in 2022. The focus will be given to businesses with up to 30 employees, those having lost at least 50% in revenue from the pandemic and having not received more than $5,000 in other government support, as well as on businesses outside of downtown Edmonds and owned by people of color, women, veterans and other minorities.

Nonprofit support: $500,000 would be allocated to assist Edmonds nonprofit organizations that have suffered substantial financial losses due to prolonged closures, cut-backs or loss of business.

Job retraining: $600,000 to provide financial aid to working adults who seek skills training, certifications, completion of degrees or other skills enhancement at local community colleges serving Edmonds residents in the form of grants of up to $5000 per year per student to cover tuition, fees, supplies and life expenses during the period of study.

Green infrastructure: Up to $4,768,099 allocated to reimburse city capital expenditures through 2026 associated with green infrastructure projects intended to enhance the quality of stormwater entering Puget Sound, according to American Rescue Plan Act guidelines. These projects include Edmonds Marsh water quality and flood control, lower Perrinville Creek realignment 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 incorporates vegetation (perennials, shrubs, trees), soil, and engineered systems (for example, permeable pavements) to slow, filter, and cleanse stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces.

Under Nelson’s proposal, the city will also create an account of $750,000 from the federal funds to reimburse city expenditures associated with responding to the COVID-19 health emergency.

“COVID has had a huge impact on many residents and businesses in our community that will not be fixed overnight,” Nelson said in a Friday press release announncing his proposal. “It is crucial we help those most in need to assist in getting them up and running again. I am eager to put forward my ARPA proposals to city council.”

Prior to the 7 p.m. business meeting, the council is scheduled to hold its usual three committee meetings (no public comment taken), starting consecutively at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. The agendas are as follows:

4 p.m. Parks and Public Works Committee 

-Taste Edmonds & Oktoberfest Event Contracts

-Report on bids for Phase 2 Stormwater Replacement Project

-Presentation of a 128-square-foot dedication of property at the northwest corner of 4th Avenue North and Daley Street

-Presentation of Stormwater Management Code

5 p.m. Planning, Public Safety and Personnel Committee

– Proposals for various changes in Edmonds Municpal Court staffing

– A proposal to streamlilne how special events are permitted in the city.

6 p.m. Finance Committee

– May 2021 monthly financial report

– Discussion of city financing needs, including possible issuance of additional bonds.

All meetings are held virtually using the Zoom meeting platform. To join, comment, view or listen to the Edmonds City Council meeting in its entirety, paste the following into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: https://zoom.us/j/95798484261. Or join by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261

Those wishing to provide audience comments using a computer or smart phone during the 7 p.m. council meeting are instructed to raise a virtual hand to be recognized. Persons who want to provide audience comments by dial-up phone are instructed to press *9 to raise a hand. When prompted, press *6 to unmute.

In addition to Zoom, regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the Council Meeting webpage, Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.