Mariner Community Campus advances; location search begins

A coalition of Snohomish County organizations has announced the completion of a state-funded needs assessment affirming the necessity of a new space providing a comprehensive set of resources for the Mariner community.

State Sen. Marko Liias at the Mariner Library on Oct. 29, 2018, for the public launch of the Mariner Community Campus project.

Led by Sno-Isle Libraries, the Snohomish Health District, the Mukilteo School District, State Sen. Marko Liias and County Executive Dave Somers, the vision to create a Mariner Community Campus strengthening and supporting the more than 25,000 residents of the area began in 2017.

Thanks to seed funding in the 2018 state supplemental capital budget, outreach and planning with community leaders, residents and stakeholders launched over the course of 2018-2019. The results of these dialogues reveal the need for a multi-use space where resources for education, health care and community building are available.

“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,” Liias said in a news release from his office. “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. I can’t wait for the next phase of this project to come to fruition!”

From the outset, the coalition supporting the Mariner Community Campus project has sought to develop a space providing free and equal access to resources, technology, community opportunities, connection to community and social equity.

“Libraries bring people together and the Mariner Library is providing resources, programs and services to help our community,” said Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson. “We are grateful to have worked with neighbors, State Sen. Liias, the Snohomish Health District and community partners to help gather this neighborhood’s hopes and dreams. Sno-Isle Libraries is excited to continue participating with the community and partners in moving this worthy project forward.”

With the community needs assessment completed, siting for the project now commences thanks to a $2.25 million appropriation in the 2019 state capital budget.

“This community campus is a natural complement to the work we do, given that community partnership development, maternal-child and family health, and chronic disease and injury prevention are all foundational public health services,” said Stephanie Wright, chair of the Snohomish Health District’s Board of Health. “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.”

The coalition has already begun developing a short list of potential locations in the area and will continue to engage with the public through the entirety of the process. Construction is tentatively slated to begin in 2023 and to be fully open to the community in 2025.

The completed needs assessment report can be viewed at https://marinercommunity.org/ along with full translations in Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese.