Kirstin Davis, Communications Manager, Neighborhood & Business Services, 509.625.7773
Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 11:05 a.m.
As you entered the gym at East Central Community Center to celebrate the collaborative investment of resources that will benefit the neighborhood, you could feel the energy of good work coming together.
Elected officials, local residents, volunteers and partner organizations gathered to share in the good news of projects making a positive impact. These projects are the epitome of the City of Spokane’s strategic plan to be a smarter, healthier and safer community.
Construction and planning are underway for three significant changes for East Central Spokane. The expansion of the East Central Community Center, which is home to the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center, will provide much needed space to increase the need for early learning. Community Colleges of Spokane serves more than 1,400 children in Spokane County and has been on the East Central campus for more than 20 years. A new and larger facility for the Community Colleges of Spokane’s Head Start/ECEAP program will provide five additional classrooms and two classrooms for pre-school, serving 80 children between the ages of 12 months to 5 years. In addition, hours will be expanded to 10 hours to better serve working families.
Washington State 3rd District Rep. Marcus Ricelli became aware of the need for oral health care in the area several years ago. He learned about a constituent who was frequenting the emergency room due to oral care problems and that people are not accessing dental services even though they are available. “This is an area of high need in Spokane, we actually have about a 3 percent higher average of tooth loss. This is not something we should be proud of,” says Ricelli. People had benefits; however, access was a barrier.
Ricelli reached out to CHAS Health CEO Aaron Wilson and together they worked to secure funding for the construction and equipment to build a dental clinic on the corner of Lee and Hartson streets. The facility will be able to serve 4,000 people each year and will have two full-time dentists and hygienists along with operations and outreach staff. The CHAS Health Dental Clinic is projected to open in 2020.
Finally, in November 2018, voters approved a $77 million Spokane Public Library bond measure to remodel four existing libraries and build three new libraries. The existing East Side Library will close and move to a new location at Liberty Park, built where the tennis courts currently sit adjacent to the Liberty Park Aquatic Center. The new library will nearly double in size and the design will reflect a sleek and modern aesthetic, maximizing westward views of the park. This space emphasizes a Children’s Zone, features a program space that is more than double the size of the existing meeting room at the current East Side library, and includes two new quiet study rooms.