Stanwood’s new community center to open in July

STANWOOD — The new Stanwood Camano Community Resource Center plans to open its doors by July to families who need help, teens who want to hang out and community groups that need a meeting place.

Construction of the center is nearly complete, with the planting of an edible landscape of berries, herbs and fruit trees and the establishment of a community garden expected to begin soon.

Every inch of the new $2 million, 7,000-square-foot center has multiple purposes, but the main one is to promote a healthy, connected community, said executive director Christie Connors.

“One of the joys of the new building will be the added opportunities to form partnerships with other Stanwood and Camano Island groups,” Connors said.

The Community Resources Foundation, which runs the center and its programs, has provided social and health services for families, young people and the community since 1992.

“In this economic recession, part of the job has been to educate people and tell them that it is OK to get some help,” Connors said. “The needs have been huge.”

The foundation was housed for many years in two old houses on the property where the new center is being built across from Stanwood Library. About five years ago, people in the community decided a new building was needed and the fundraising began.

“It’s been done with no tax money, and the majority of the funds have come from the community,” said Connors, who chokes up when she talks about a particular $1 donation that came clipped to a heartfelt note of thanks.

About $290,000 still needs to be raised to cover the $2 million project, she said.

“But I am confident that we will get there,” Connors said. “This community has so many generous people.”

From her temporary office in a storefront near the QFC store in downtown Stanwood, Connors talked recently about the people who have made the new center a reality.

Kris Voelckers, of Stirling Construction Co., built the center at a reduced cost. Architect Russ Leach donated his time and work. Stanwood welder Rick Wesley is donating a metal chandelier. Nationally known glass artist Jack Archibald, of Camano Island, donated the stained glass windows, titled “Stanwood Lights,” for the front of the building.

“I decided that donating the art glass would all be worth it if more people would find out what incredible stuff these folks do at the resource center,” Archibald said.

The center provides health and safety referrals and classes for individuals and families, free meals and classes for teens, a mobile dental clinic and job training in the center’s used bookstore. It also is the home of the Stanwood Camano Island Soap Box Derby.

Major donations for the new building came from the McEacheren Charitable Trust, the Floyd and Delores Jones Family Foundation, the Charles and Donna Cole Charitable Fund, Washington Energy Services and the Tulalip Tribes, Connors said.

At the back of the new center is a 1,500-square-foot meeting room that can double as a dining room, a gym or a theater. That big room is connected to a large commercial kitchen and the Davis Place Teen Center. There are computer rooms, art rooms and classrooms. Morgan’s Tales Used Bookstore, the center’s main fundraising arm, is located near the front door, adjacent to a comfortable sitting room complete with a fireplace, Connors said.

“It’s going to be great,” she said.

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

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