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April 20, 2000

Necklace of parks laces Edmonds changing waterfront

Barker Landscape Architects

In a small city just to the north of Seattle, a world-class waterfront is taking shape. Called "the gem of Puget Sound" because of its natural beauty and scenic views, the City of Edmonds has developed a vision for a vibrant public waterfront.

A necklace of parks connected by a continuous pedestrian esplanade the length of Edmonds shoreline will provide public access from North Bracketts Landing (the underwater park) south to Point Edwards. The plan will transform the waterfront into an exceptional public amenity, enhancing Edmond lifestyles with parks and public facilities linked by accessible shoreline walkways.

The plan, which includes the relocation of the Edmonds Ferry, was developed by the city of Edmonds with the assistance of Makers Architecture and Urban Design. Known as the Downtown Waterfront Plan, it was adopted in 1994 and incorporated three years later into the citys Comprehensive Plan. Since that time the citys parks department has been moving persistently forward towards realizing this grand vision of a vibrant and expansive public waterfront. Barker Landscape Architects is the designer of Bracketts Landing South and Bracketts Landing North (currently under construction), and several links along the waterfront.

Edmonds waterfront
The Edmonds waterfront is taking shape.
Courtesy of Barker Landscape Architects
Over the last few years, the Edmonds waterfront has been undergoing a transformation, putting together the pieces of the puzzle to create its new waterfront. Bracketts Landing North (the underwater park), and Bracketts Landing South are already linked to the senior center, Olympic Beach and Marina Beach-all with a pedestrian walkway south to Point Edward. In the future, the existing ferry will be moved further south and the dock will be renovated as a public pier.

Edmonds and its waterfront have a rich natural and cultural history. Over the years the waterfront has supported a wide variety of industrial, rail, marine, commercial, residential and recreational uses. It boasts views of Mount Baker, the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. In the development of two of the most recent parks, Bracketts Landing South and Bracketts Landing North, these natural elements and the history of Edmonds have been used to inspire the designs of the parks and tell some of the stories of the historic landscape.

Creating a linked park system from disparate landowners with different issues and concerns is a monumental task. Then theres the recent salmon listing and the challenges that come with the appeal process. Over 30 percent of the projects budget has gone to permitting.

But the secret to Edmonds success is threefold. It includes developing a compelling and realistic vision, persistence and leadership from the City of Edmonds (especially the Parks Department), and getting pieces of the vision built that are well-loved by the public.

Bracketts Landing South has been awarded a National League of Cities award for "contributions made to the enrichment of the urban environment."

Page Crutcher is a landscape architect with Barker Landscape Architects.

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