Darrington residents working together to rebuild their center

  • Thu Jul 1st, 2010 10:16pm
  • News

By Gale Fiege Herald Writer

DARRINGTON — Diane Bryson Boyd, community center board president, is the grand marshal of the Independence Day parade here on Sunday.

Nominated by the Town Council, Boyd sees the honor as a way to remind people of the ongoing fundraising efforts to refurbish the town’s community center.

So far the campaign has raised $28,000 to replace the center’s roof and gym floor. Boyd estimates the work will cost more than $100,000.

That’s a lot of garage sales, dinners, dances, cribbage games and, beginning this week, sales of “Great Eats: The Darrington Community Center Cookbook.”

The fundraising campaign hopes to raise another $9,000 through sales of the $18 cookbook. The book can be purchased during the July 4 festivities Sunday at Old School Park and at several stores in town. In addition, the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe donated a 1996 Pontiac van to be raffled off Sunday. Proceeds also go to the community center fundraising campaign.

“The cookbook is awesome and the rest of the fundraising is going well,” Boyd said.

Just as the community did in 1952 to build the community center, people in Darrington are rallying to fix the beloved building.

The 7,000 board feet of beautiful old tongue-and-groove Douglas fir has been refurbished a couple of times, but the wood is worn, missing in several places, and nail heads pop up here and there. The roof leaks in a few places and has been patched numerous times.

The town of Darrington officially owns the community center, but it is operated by a nonprofit board of directors. The board receives rental income from many groups, but there’s never enough money for major repairs, Boyd said. Darrington School District, located next door, leases the gym and pays the heating bills.

The gym is considered by some to be one of the finest old athletic facilities in Western Washington, with its all-wood interior and built-in seating for 1,200 people, who all look down on the action.

Darrington Community Center also has been the venue for countless baby showers, high school dances and graduations, wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations, funeral dinners, senior lunches, Red Cross shelters, Sauk-Suiattle tribal events and the high school’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for the town’s elders.

It’s the town’s centerpiece, Boyd said, and most people are pitching in to help save it.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.