The History of the Village on Casino Road
The Journey and the Destination
For years, the Casino Road community had been asking for one thing: a safe, shared community space where people can gather, build community, and access essential services and resources to support strong families. In response to that need, Connect Casino Road worked with partners to remodel a complex known as Children's Village into intentional community space.
Read below to follow the journey.
The Little Red School House
Decades before Connect Casino Road began and started working on the Village, this space was a trusted gathering space for the Casino Road community. Owned and operated by the Little Red School House (now ChildStrive), what is now the Village on Casino Road has a long history of hosting community-based organizations focused on serving families and young children. Many of those same organizations are still present at the Village today, and many more have been added! To this day, we still here folks lovingly referring to this space as "Little Red." Personally, we hope that never changes!
Community Design with the Pomegranate Center
The Seattle-based Pomegranate Center has over 30 years' experience working alongside communities to design public gathering spaces. After getting to know them, we knew they were perfect for this project. So in April, 2018 we pulled together a community meeting for Casino Road residents to let us know what they wanted out of a future Community Hub. We asked them what a Community Hub would look like, feel like, and what people would do there. Over 125 people shared their feedback, generating 50 ideas.
Three days later, designers from the Pomegranate Center and our architects met for two all-day design workshops in which those 50 ideas collected at the community meeting were boiled down to themes and values and then interpreted into a conceptual design. Some common themes and activities that surfaced included:
A hub for empowerment (education, training, capacity building, etc.)
A social hub (space to hang out, drink coffee with a friend, socialize, etc.)
A resource hub (community navigators, computer lab, housing support, etc.)
A cultural hub (dance, art, music, cultural celebrations)
Summer 2018 - Spring 2019
Turning a Concept into Plans
After receiving the "green light" from the community to move ahead with our plans, we entered in to the long and arduous phase of design work, finding contractors, price estimating, and fundraising. In March of 2019, the architects finished the planning process and submitted the design documents to the City for permitting approval. We stayed hopeful throughout the process and were approved!
CCR Started Lease of New Community Center
Even though we knew Children's Village didn't yet look like the community center we've all been dreaming about, come January 2019 it was starting to be used like a community center. In order to encourage more of that use, the Community Foundation of Snohomish County began leasing an entire building from ChildStrive, who currently owns the facility and has been working very closely with CCR to turn it in to a community center. Since then, we've seen community use of the space increase dramatically. For the first time, families are holding birthday parties and baby showers here at the center. This was an important step towards making the Village a reality
March - August 2019
In March of 2019, Connect Casino Road was awarded a $200,000 capital grant from Premera's Social Impact initiative. This award brought CCR much closer to our approximate $800,000 fundraising goal. In August, we received a $500,000 capital grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We reached out fundraising goal in December 2020/.
August 2019-March 2020
Construction on the Village occurred in 2 phases. The first phase began in August, and the second phase began in November. Construction was completed in March 2020, just days before the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic.