Commentary: The last mile

Progress on Edmonds Waterfront Center construction continues as indicated by this photo taken Sept. 30. (Photo courtesy Edmonds Waterfront Center)

For the last six years, we have been on a marathon to build a new home for the Senior Center. It was a small handful of dedicated Board members and staff who first set off on this audacious journey. As the years passed and the project has taken shape, more people have joined the pack. The new Waterfront Center is on schedule to open in November. In this final mile, we need everyone to join in.

I love the image of the “barn raising” common in the 18th and 19th century in rural America when community members would all gather and do their part to assist in building a neighbor’s barn. It was a collective effort — some would prepare food or watch the children while others hammered nails. We need everyone to participate in anyway they can to help us close the funding gap. We are committed to raising the full amount because every dollar we spend on a loan is a dollar we cannot spend on programing.

In my work I am inspired every day by the generosity of others and its power to make the impossible possible. The fact that the community would contribute $14 million to help construct the new Waterfront Center is astounding. The Senior Center Board has given untold hours over the past six years to the effort and contributed nearly $500,000 of their personal resources, mostly coming from retirement funds.

With $2.5 million left to raise we need the collective effort of the community. If you have already given – thank you! If you have been considering a gift, now is the time. If you have been cheering us on from the sidelines, we invite you to join us so we can cross the finish line together.

It has been a long journey. We have embraced every obstacle along the way, from permitting, to rising construction costs and even a pandemic. Through it all our seniors have persevered. While it is hard not to feel overwhelmed with anxiety living in this uncertain world today, the Edmonds Waterfront Center stands as beacon of hope.

Imagine a time (when it is again safe to gather) coming through the doors of the new center. First you will smell the fresh coffee brewing at the coffee kiosk and look up to see the breathtaking view of the ferry, Puget Sound, and mountains through the two-story wall of glass. After checking in at the reception desk, you notice the impressive list of activities and classes on the big screen above the desk — from exercise classes to upcoming field trips. The Native art catches your eye but soon you see the entire building is filled with carefully curated art from local artists. You look up and see your friend waiting in the community lounge, seated in stylish lobby furniture you might see in a fine hotel. She is ready to join you for lunch. As you enter the banquet room you notice it is filled with Senior Center members as well as community members young and old — all dining together in the community cafe. You order your lunch prepared by Shubert Ho and his team. It is delivered to your table next to the window, where you watch a family play on the beach. Glancing at your watch, you realize you have just enough time to get upstairs to the Health & Wellness Clinic for your foot care appointment. After the afternoon watercolor class, you decide to go home to rest up before returning after dinner to hear the lecture offered by the City Parks, Recreation and Culture Department, which provides programs every evening at the center.

When you finally walk to the exit you stop and look back — you are filled with joy and pride that you live in a community that had the courage and perseverance to create something so extraordinary and smile because you played a part in making it happen.

— By Daniel Johnson, CEO
Edmonds Waterfront Center

To donate to the Waterfront Center campaign, visit this link.

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