As we start the final mile of the marathon to construct the new Edmonds Waterfront Center, we want to stop and acknowledge one individual who has been instrumental in setting it all in motion many years ago. Rose Cantwell was an active member of the Edmonds Senior Center beginning in the 1990s. She loved participating in the senior center’s choir, the Sound Singers.
In the mid-’90s the organization went through a difficult patch, when some say “the Board of Directors lost touch with the membership.” As the mother of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rose was not about to be steamrolled. Rose led the charge for a change in board leadership and ended up being elected board president and ensuring the voice of the members would always prevail.
When the organization decided that the Edmonds Senior Center building, with its sinking floors and failing plumbing, had to be replaced, Rose raised her hand offering to co-chair the capital campaign. The campaign ended up growing to $16.5 million, demonstrating her audacious drive to deliver. But it did not stop there. Rose did not want to just build a new senior center. She wanted to build a center for people of all ages, saying, “Our society has segmented our communities by age – young families here and our seniors there. We had it wrong. We need to bring the generations together.” Rose pledged to raise the money and deliver the new center as a gift from the seniors to the community.
A famous Rose quote, memorialized in our campaign video, is “I am going to roll up my sleeves and get to work on the capital campaign because it needs to be done!” That quote has been incorporated into the masthead of every board and committee agenda as our battle cry.
To honor Rose’s monolithic contribution to protecting the voice of the voiceless and delivering on the promise of the new Edmonds Waterfront Center, the community meeting room on the first floor will be named the Rose Cantwell Community Room.
— By Daniel Johnson, CEO
Edmonds Waterfront Center