The original idea for the 4th Avenue Cultural Corridor emerged in 2003-4 when Parks, the Arts Commission, and Planning Board were all looking at ways that the proposed Edmonds Center for the Arts facility could be better linked to downtown retail shops, restaurants and services.
The Planning Board subsequently integrated that initial concept into their downtown / waterfront activity center planning — part of the land use element of the city's comprehensive plan (7MB ).
In 2005-6 the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Service Department undertook an update of the Urban Design Plan and renamed it the Streetscape Plan. Managed by the Cultural Services Manager, the 2006 Streetscape Plan update included new appendices, one of which was the 4th Avenue Arts Corridor concept plan developed by CREA.
In 2007 the City received a matching grant for $50,000 from the National Park Service's Preserve America program, and contracted with SvR Design to further develop the ideas for the 4th Avenue corridor. Renamed the "4th Avenue Cultural Corridor," the new plan elaborated on the earlier design concepts and resulted in the 4th Avenue Cultural Corridor Implementation and Funding Plan which was adopted in 2009.