by Richard Uhlhorn
There is an ongoing project in the Lake Chelan Valley that will not only benefit, but will have a major impact on every man, women and child in the future. It’s called the Community Center Lake Chelan (CCLC) and the process to construct the Center has reached several milestones.
Seven Acres Foundation closed on six acres of property adjacent to Hwy. 150 between Chelan and Manson as the final location for the upcoming Community Center at Lake Chelan.
This week, Seven Acres Foundation, finalized the purchase of property at the foot of the Lookout adjacent to Hwy 150 between Chelan and Manson. The construction of the Center on this six acre plot of land will become a focal point for residents and visitors when the first phases are completed 2021.
This enables Seven Acres to commence with groundbreaking next month for construction of the Community Center at Lake Chelan. “We can really look at this closing as a quadruple win, where four separate entities got together in a spirit of cooperation to enhance the future of our area,” said Ben Williams, president of the Seven Acres Foundation.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be ending up with nine acres of wonderfully suited property along Anderson Road to build a planned neighborhood of affordable homes. This will fulfill our property needs for years to come. The parties all worked together to create a deal with the best outcome for each organization. This is a huge win for our community,” said Mike Cooney, executive director of the Chelan Housing Trust.
The Foundation originally secured land adjacent to Anderson Road, but the Bighorn property below the Lookout is more centrally located for the Community Center.
Dallas Widmark, General Manager of the Lookout, said “we are extremely pleased to have played a role in helping facilitate this great win. In return for our three-acre donation, Chelan Valley workers will now have access to many more units of workforce housing, the Seven Acres foundation has a convenient new location between the towns of Chelan and Manson, and the Lookout community and Chelan Valley residents will all have a great new facility to utilize.”
The plan includes a large, multi-purpose facility with a full size basketball court, two practice courts or three volleyball courts, and a community meeting place. Other amenities include a coffee shop, commercial kitchen, indoor swimming pool, a kids indoor play area, multi-purpose rooms, private offices and a workspace center.
Outside facilities will include pickleball courts and sand volleyball courts.
The Community Center at Lake Chelan will provide affordable event space for cultural and social activities such as Quinceañeras, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate events and other special occasions with an emphasis on serving the agricultural worker population in the Lake Chelan Valley.
The Foundation has already raised in excess of 50% of the estimated cost of the project and will be holding future fund raising benefits to help raise the rest of the funding needed to complete the center. “We are right at the tipping point,” said Foundation President Ben Williams. “It is going to happen!”
Major funding for the center has come from the Names Family Foundation, Scott & Brook Isaac, RealLife NCW and the Rynd Family Foundation. Other sponsorships have come from Cashmere Valley Bank, Lake Chelan Building Supply, the Lookout and the State of Washington.
” Westby Associates have been very helpful with our fundraising efforts,” said Williams. They and Representative Mike Steele helped the Foundation receive a $250,000 State grant for engineering development. “We spend the money and the State reimburses us when we invoice,” said Williams. “The exciting part for me is the connection with people and resources… the number of people who have approached us for sponsorships.”
“The Department of Commerce have been great to work with. Folks are very supportive of the project,” stated Dan Hodge, vice president of the Foundation. Williams added that the City of Chelan has also been very supportive. “They’ve been great to work with,” said Williams.
The Foundation received the Notice of Decision today for approval of a Conditional Use Permit by City of Chelan Land Use Hearing Examiner, CUP #2020-08 and SEPA #2020-06, for the Community Center at Lake Chelan.
With the CUP in hand, the next step is for the Foundation to submit a grading permit application to move toward ground breaking, earthwork, and infrastructure at the Bighorn location.
“We have a lot of good people… a steering committee who are highly committed to making this happen,” said Hodge.
A portion of the funding for work at the site and may come from construction loans and bridge loans.
Last September, the Foundation held a Gala at Wapato Point which raised an additional $750,000 plus a number of pledges. “Hopefully we will be able to hold another fund raising gala this September,” said Hodge. Unfortunately, with the current pandemic, having a live Gala is probably going to be impossible.
The original concept for a Community Center came from Kyle Plew, Real Life, who had long wanted a facility where people could meet. The church elders got involved and the group looked at building the facility on a nine acre parcel adjacent to Anderson Road out by the warehouses on donated land. Williams said, “Real Life was the huge driver behind this.” The group spun off from the church, but the Conditional Use Permit includes allowing the church, a school and assemblies.
When land became available at the Lookout, the Foundation made a deal with the Chelan Valley Housing Trust and made a swap which donated five acres to the Housing Trust.
According the Foundations Executive Director Raye Evans, the project is a desire to serve the community by providing a resource to strengthen non-profits and the underserved populations who rely on them. “We want to bring people of all backgrounds together and provide working, event and recreation spaces accessible to everyone in the community,” said Evans. “To ensure this facility is able to be a sustaining pillar and a resource in the community, we have developed an operations model that runs similar to a for-profit business in that it is predominantly based on earned revenue for facility usage.”
Dan Hodge, vice president of the Foundation said, “This will be a facility large enough and affordable enough for the community.”
The entire Foundation is build on the following CORE VALUES:
- Relationships – Building healthy families and friendships, and leveraging the power of community;
- Compassion – Meeting the needs of the unserved and underserved;
- Service – Promoting volunteerism as a way of life;
- Connection – Use the Community Center at Lake Chelan as a tool to connect
- individuals, non-profits and business.
Partnerships are a huge part of the plan and the Foundation has signed exclusive agreements with several organizations.
- BE.FIT Chelan has teamed up with the Community Center to provide fitness programs. This will include fitness classes for senior citizens, a water aerobics program, and wellness instruction to people of all ages and fitness levels.
“Teaming up with the Community Center provides a perfect opportunity for us to substantially broaden the range of our fitness programs,” said Jen Bordner. She and her partner, Sara England, are looking forward to the day the center opens for business.
- The Kahiau Volleyball Club also signed a partnership with the center. The Club, which was started by Desiree Phelps is also looking forward to having a full-time base for the Club’s 10+ teams. “The Community Center will be a great fit for us and we are excited to have a single home base in the future.” Phelps did not discount the help from local schools, but added that they have had to compete for gym space and time. “The new partnership will help our program immensely.” The Kahiau Volleyball Club welcomes everyone to join the club. “Our membership extends beyond Chelan and Manson,” said Phelps.
- The Vine Coffee is also excited to have an exclusive partnership with the Community Center. Holly Moody, and her husband Ryan, are thrilled with the opportunity to having their own small business at the Center. “We are thrilled to be a part of this project.” The Vine Coffee will not only offer a variety of coffee drinks, but juices, breakfast sandwiches, paninis, homemade cookies and other items. It will be located in a prime location at the Center which will include indoor and outdoor seating.
- Real Life NCW is one of the first partnerships at the Center. This local church organization has been holding its services in the Performing Arts Center at Chelan High School and is looking forward to having the opportunity to operate out of one location for its services and youth engagement activities.
The architectural design for the Center is by Complete Design of Wenatchee. The contractor is Rimmer and Roeter of Cashmere, Washington.
For more information on the upcoming facility, visit the following websites:
Join these Sponsors, Partners and Team Members in this exciting project:
Real Life, NCW; Names Family Foundation; The Vine Coffee; Swimworld; Torrence Engineering; Rimmer & Roeter Construction; Ogden Murphy Wallace; Complete Design Inc.; Chelan Sand & Gravel; CB; Lake Chelan Winery; Wapato Point Cellars; BE.FIT Chelan; Lake Chelan Building Supply; Kahiau Volleyball Club; and Cashmere Valley Bank.