The Family First Community Center recently took another step towards becoming a reality as Renton Mayor Denis Law was joined by project partners and community leaders at a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the site adjacent to Cascade Elementary School.
“This symbolic ribbon cutting tells the community we are moving forward with the construction of the Family First Community Center,” said Law in remarks to the crowd. “This new center is possible thanks to the vision and support of Doug Baldwin, collaboration between the city and the school district, and the generous support from local businesses, Rotary Club of Renton and state and county representatives.”
Law was joined at the ceremony by Baldwin, former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver; Dr. Damien Pattenaude, Renton School District superintendent; Tom Trompeter, CEO of HealthPoint; Charles DeLaurenti, Chair First Financial Northwest Foundation; Renton City Council; members of the Renton School Board; and business and service club donors.
The $15 million Family First Community Center project has raised just over $10.3 million, with other commitments forthcoming. Renton City Council was the first to donate, contributing $4 million. Doug Baldwin contributed $1 million through his Family First Community Center Foundation and Renton School District donated the land, which was valued at $450,000. HealthPoint, a community-based, community-supported and community-governed network of non-profit health centers, will provide and manage services at the center.
Other project contributors include First Financial Northwest Foundation, Washington State Legislature, Starbuck’s Foundation, Car Pros Renton, Tom & Karen Easton and their company ATS Automation, Rotary Club of Renton members, Seattle Seahawks and individual donors. Contributions can be made via Renton Regional Community Foundation. Simple click the “Donate Now” button and select “Family First Community Center” from the list of funds.
The project started over four years ago when Baldwin, who then lived in the Cascade/Benson Hill area of Renton, visited Mayor Law to see what could be done to assist youth in that community. The two worked together on several ideas, before focusing on a community center that would provide a wide range of vital services to families and youth in the area.
The Cascade/Benson Hill area was annexed to the City of Renton in 2008, and has almost a quarter of the city’s population, with 12 percent living below the poverty line. Twenty percent of the population is 14 years or younger and the community is very diverse. The area has been historically underserved, though after the area was annexed, the city increased police services and also made significant investments in roads and infrastructure. However, there has been no investment in recreation services for family and youth.
“This project will improve the lives of many people living in our community,” said Law. “We’re already think about the groundbreaking celebration early next year!”