Edmonds Waterfront Center fundraiser nets $57K

$400K remaining in community challenge offered by Rick Steves
By Brian Soergel | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: Brian Soergel Edmonds Senior Center President Farrell Fleming and Capital Campaign co-chair Rose Cantwell are major players in the future Edmonds Waterfront Center.

More than 200 bigwigs – community leaders, current and former elected officials and business owners – showed up early morning Thursday, Oct. 26, for an update on the planned Edmonds Waterfront Center.

It was billed as a campaign kickoff for the $11 million center, which will replace the current Senior Center on Railroad Avenue, so of course those chowing down on free breakfast were encouraged to loosen their purse strings.

And they did. According to campaign director Daniel Johnson, the breakfast at the Edmonds Yacht Club – featuring quiche, muffins, fruit, juice and coffee – raised $57,100.

As that money was eligible for a match offered by Edmonds’ Rick Steves, it meant a total of a possible $114,200 toward the center’s $1 million community goal.

This leaves $400,000 remaining in Steves’ challenge. The travel expert, who has already donated $2 million for the project, pledged another $1 million if community donations add up to another million.

That community $1 million is just a slice of the project’s $11 million capital campaign. In 2015, Sen. Maralyn Chase was instrumental in getting a $1.25 million appropriation from the state as part of its capital budget. An additional $2.25 million state grant is on hold as the state’s capital budget remains in limbo.

The center also has received a $350,000 grant from Birkenfeld Charitable Trust and $300,000 from the Hazel Miller Foundation.

As of this week, the total raised for the Waterfront Center stood at $6.05 million.


Speaking at the fundraiser were Senior Center President Farrell Fleming, Senior Center board of directors President Bob Rinehart, Mayor Dave Earling, former Mayor Gary Haakenson and Edmonds Parks and Recreation Director Carrie Hite.

“Like only Gary Haakenson can do, he galvanized the room with his call to action for the community to come together with gifts large and small to help get the Edmonds Waterfront Center built,” Johnson said.

In addition, a slick video featured Steves and actress Anna Faris, who grew up in Edmonds.

But highlighting the morning’s presentations were Edmonds-Woodway High School seniors Thea McAfee and Mohamed Faal. They are part of the Generations Drama Project, a collaboration between the Senior Center and the school. The students interview seniors and portray their lives on stage.

“Everyone I spoke to agrees that Thea and Mohamad stole the show,” Johnson said. “Their heartfelt and insightful comments underscored the power of bringing young and old together through intergenerational programs.

“Everybody did a good job capturing the vision for the new center and highlighting the importance of the partnership between the Senior Center and the city.”

The city of Edmonds owns the center’s land, but signed an option to lease and a ground lease for the nonprofit Senior Center to raise funds to build the two-story, 26,000-square-foot structure, designed by Environmental Works of Seattle.

The Senior Center will own the building, which will offer a range of programs emphasizing health and wellness, recreation and education for people of all ages, while still responding to the needs of an aging population living in south Snohomish and north King County.

The city is proceeding with the design and permitting of the beach restoration and parking lot improvements.

A building for all

Rose Cantwell, who was at the fundraising event, can’t wait to see the new Edmonds Waterfront Center. The 85-year-old is co-chair of the capital campaign along with Councilmember Diane Buckshnis.

“I’ve felt for a long while that senior centers segregate seniors from the rest of society,” Cantwell said after the fundraiser ended. “Some people don’t choose to go just because it’s a senior center.”

Cantwell said that’s been on her mind from the day she moved to Edmonds in 1998 to be closer to her daughter, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. “The Edmonds Senior Center has alway been a good place for newcomers to come and meet new people, and it was for me.”

She said she’s confident everyone will like and enjoy the spiffy new Waterfront Center. Including seniors.

“The things that they really like and enjoy about the Senior Center will be maintained. So they don’t need to be concerned about that.”

To contribute to the Edmonds Waterfront Center’s Capital Campaign, send your donation to the Edmonds Senior Center and mail it to P.O. Box 717, Edmonds, WA 98020. You can also go to www.edmondssc.com to donate.


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