The Mariner Community Campus project is moving on to its second phase as the search for a possible campus location begins.
The Mariner Community Campus Project was thought up by state Sen. Marko Liias after noticing how important the then-new Sno-Isle Mariner Library was to the Mariner community.
The Mariner community has more than 25,000 residents, most living in unincorporated Snohomish County.
“Without access to a parks department, libraries or other resources that would typically be provided by incorporated cities, the residents of the Mariner community have been left without civic spaces where neighbors can convene and collaborate,” said Liias in a news release.
The opening of the library in 2017 sparked ideas for Liias, and soon after, conversations about the project began. Through those conversations, Liias was able to secure $322,000 in state funds from the state’s capital budget during the 2018 session to further develop the project.
The official launch of the project was last year, Oct. 29.
Since the project started, two community meetings have been held. The meetings were part of the project’s community needs assessment.
The community meetings allowed community members to engage in the planning for the project.
The first meeting was held April 13 at Mariner High School and had around 50 community members in attendance.
The second meeting was held May 11 at the same location, with another smaller community meeting held at the BRIDGES Center at Everett Community College.
The meetings gathered a total of 135 ideas for what the campus would provide. In these ideas, the common themes were multi-use spaces, health and human services, and education and learning services. The community also wanted the campus to be able to provide for all ages, with the Sno-Isle Mariner Library acting as an anchor for the entire campus.
The community needs assessment reports can be found online through marinercommunity.org along with any other information on the project. Project updates can also be found on the website.
The project took another big step this year, as it was given $2.25 million through the state’s 2019 capital budget. These funds will aim to help the project find possible locations for where the campus may be.
During this phase, the project hopes to get more community and stakeholder engagement.
There are 18 service providers and funders for the project alongside Sno-Isle Libraries which includes: Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, Community Transit, Economic Alliance Snohomish County, Edmonds Community College, Everett Community College, Greater Foundation Snohomish County, Leadership Snohomish County, Mukilteo School District, Snohomish County, Snohomish Health District, Snohomish STEM Network, State of Washington, United Way Snohomish County, Volunteers of America Western Washington, Washington State Family and Community Engagement Trust, Washington State University Everett, and YMCA of Snohomish County.
The Snohomish Health District is now the lead agency in the project.
All are working with the Pomegranate Center, a non-profit organization based in Seattle that focuses on helping communities come together and design and built art-filled gathering places.
Stephanie Wright, chair of the Snohomish Health District’s Board of Health and current Snohomish County Councilmember, believes the community campus is a perfect match to the type of work the Health District does in the community.
“The District has been looking to locate a new headquarters or satellite location, and this Mariner area provides an exciting opportunity to do that while helping to build healthy families and a strong community,” said Wright in the news release.
The coalition of Snohomish County organizations already have developed a list of potential locations for the campus in the area. The coalition wants to continue to engage with the public throughout the entire phases of the project.
“The project reflects on what the community needs,” said Jim Hills, the public information manager at Sno-Isle Libraries. “It’s really up to the community to decide what the campus will provide.”
Construction of the campus is tentatively set to begin in 2023. It’s expected to be fully open to the community in 2025.
“Already we have seen an amazing public-private partnership come together to ensure that one of the most underserved communities in our county has a pathway to opportunity,” Liias said. “I can’t wait for the next phase of this project to come to fruition.”