Verdant’s Board of Commissioners recently approved two large projects that will increase South Snohomish County residents’ access to outdoor activities, a total investment of $4.4 million over the course of four years.
These projects were approved through Verdant’s Building Healthy Communities Fund, which was created in 2013 to support projects in South Snohomish County that increase opportunities for residents to live active and healthy lives. In particular, Verdant was looking to support projects that would help sustain long-term improvements, including reducing barriers that keep people from being active.
The BikeLink project is a collaboration between the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace to create a regional bicycle network, providing greater opportunities for individuals and families to bike for recreational and transportation purposes. In addition, this project has had involvement from Cascade Bicycle Club, Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group, Swedish/Edmonds and Community Transit. Read below for the joint press release issued about this project.
The Woodway Health and Wellness Campus project is a joint effort between the Edmonds School District and City of Edmonds to improve the outdoor space at the former Woodway High School campus with artificial fields, community garden space and a walking path. Read below for the joint press release issued about this project.
Verdant partners with cities to improve bike routes, encourage fitness through cycling
The Verdant Health Commission recently approved a three-year, $1.9 million project with the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace to establish a regional bicycle network that will provide greater opportunities for individuals and families to bike for recreational and transportation purposes. It will also improve safety for cyclists and drivers.
The goal of this project is to complete critical missing links in the bike network (currently estimated to be 5.7 total miles), install route signs to enhance safety for cyclists and drivers, install bicycle parking at key destinations and conduct public education and outreach. In total, 10 miles of bicycle network will be completed or connected once the project is finished.
In 2013, Verdant worked with Cascade Bicycle Club to conduct a bikeability assessment of the roads and cycling interest within the community. Through that process, Verdant learned that 60 percent of South Snohomish County residents would like to bike more, but they are concerned about safety.
“At Verdant, we are interested in removing the barriers that prevent people from being healthy, including access to safe places to be active,” Verdant Superintendent Carl Zapora said.
The Board of Commissioners for Verdant approved this project out of its Building Healthier Communities Fund. This fund is specifically designed to support efforts that increase opportunities for people to live active, healthy lives.
The partnership of the cities, with involvement from Cascade Bicycle Club, Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group, Swedish/Edmonds and Community Transit, appealed to Verdant for the BikeLink Project.
“The collaboration of three cities allows us to leverage our resources and have a greater impact,” Zapora said.
The City of Lynnwood took the lead in seeking support from Verdant. For the past five years, Lynnwood has been focused on increasing physical activity and access to healthy foods as part of its Healthy Communities Program.
“Making improvements to the physical environment is a vitally important component to creating a healthy community and the BikeLink project is a substantial first step to creating a safer bike network for our community,” Lynnwood Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Director Lynn Sordel said.
Verdant grant to boost health and wellness
A project envisioned for many years is about to come to fruition thanks to a grant awarded by the Verdant Health Commission. The $2.5 million grant, spread over four years starting in 2014, will be applied to the first of three phases of the health and wellness campus project.
Located in Edmonds at the site of the former Woodway High School, the building is still used for multiple school programs. The surrounding playfields also remain heavily used and sought-after by community groups; improvements have been long envisioned.
This project is a collaborative effort between the Edmonds School District and City of Edmonds.
“It is wonderful that these improvements will begin moving forward. These fields serve many community users in the Puget Sound Region,” School District Superintendent Nick Brossoit said. “We thank the city for partnering with us and commend them for applying for and being awarded state appropriations that will also contribute to the first phase.”
“The City is very excited about this opportunity and appreciates the partnership with the Verdant Health Commission, the Edmonds School District, and our District 21 and 32 Representatives in the State Legislature. Developing a multi-use recreational campus available to Edmonds residents and neighboring communities provides the opportunity that leads to greater levels of physical activity, promoting overall health and well- being and quality of life,” stated Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling.
The Verdant Health Commission invests in community programs in South Snohomish County that work to improve the health and well-being of the residents. Funded by Verdant’s Building Healthy Communities Fund, this project interested Verdant because of the opportunities it will create to expand the types of programs and activities available to the community, said Verdant Superintendent Carl Zapora.
“We are excited to be part of this project,” Zapora said. “This campus will offer people of all ages with a chance to be outside and active.”
The entire project, with all three phases, will cost around $12 million and eventually include a walking track, resurfaced tennis and basketball courts, four year-round multi-use turf fields with lights, concessions, and seating areas.
The fields are located at 23200 100th Avenue West in Edmonds.