Council hears more ARPA requests — not all of which it can fund

At its work session Aug. 8, the Lynnwood City Council heard six requests for using the city’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The council faces some tough choices ahead, however, as the requests totaled $997,806 and the city has only $812,307 left to allocate.

Lynnwood received approximately $10.9 million in ARPA funds in 2021, and council allocated the majority of it to fund police equipment and personnel, the Scriber Lake Park Boardwalk, residential street infrastructure and the Lynnwood Neighborhood Center. 

Most recently, the council allocated $388,432 to the parks and recreation department to combat increased graffiti and also distributed a total of $7,500 — $2,500 each – to the Northwest Veterans Museum, the Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Association and the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society to recoup lost wages during the pandemic. 

The council and its room of presenters.

Here are the new requests the council received Monday night: 

Organization Presenter Amount Purpose
The Keep Dreams Alive Foundation Executive Director Dafne Powell $5,855 Housing education courses for Spanish-speaking families that will provide information about tenant rights and responsibilities, community resources and documentation practices. 
The ACCESS Project President Wally Webster II $79,469 Intervention and referral services to youth at risk of struggling from mental health challenges, possible criminal induction and gun violence. Functionally, ACCESS is to serve as a hub to connect these youth with the assistance services they need.
The Foundation for Edmonds School District Executive Director Deborah Brandi $43,784 On-the-job training program that will allow students likely to enter the workforce immediately after graduation to earn experience working and bring in income that will support their families. The program will focus on disadvantaged youth. Also provides a scholarship for those students’ two-year degree or vocational program.
The Jean Kim Foundation Director Sandra Means $158,321 Operating costs for the Lynnwood Hygiene Center, which provides showers and sanitary products to unhoused community members. 
The Lynnwood Police Department LPD Sgt. Lindsay Pool $20,000 Various items/services for in-need individuals that the police encounter during their work. For example, transportation to detox services, housing deposits or household items.
Homage Senior Services Councilmember Shirley Sutton $150,000 + $3,000 Senior services provided by Homage’s Multicultural Center including rides for seniors without transportation, event programming, bilingual outreach staffing and health services. The $3,000 request is separate and seeks to reduce food insecurity caused by food benefit reductions in March.
The council also discussed the following requests at a previous meeting:
Community Health Center   $199,657 Two mental health clinicians for Lynnwood schools — largely the Meadowdale area, which has expressed greater need. 
Evergreen Recovery Center   $252,720 Hire two nurses to increase the number of detoxification beds and services it can currently provide to people suffering from substance abuse disorders.
Clothes for Kids   $58,500 + $16,500 Provide a week’s worth of clothes for students without means to afford clothing. The $16,500 request will fund paid interns that will serve as interpreters as many of the service’s clients are not English-speaking. This doubles as job training and income for the interpreters themselves.

It has not yet been determined whether the Jean Kim Foundation and Clothes for Kids are eligible for ARPA funding, which is intended to ease hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligibility will be determined by city administration prior to any votes for dispersal. 

Councilmembers had follow-up questions for some presenters. 

Councilmember George Hurst said that the Jean Kim Foundation’s mission was focused on housing insecurity but that the mission seemed to be shifting toward different goals and asked Director Sandra Means to clarify. 

Wally Webster II said that young men are particularly impacted by mental health struggles due to societal pressures.

Councilmember Josh Binda asked the ACCESS Project if it would be including people under the age of 25 in its board or partnerships, later saying that young people would be more receptive to those closer to them in age. Organization President Wally Webster said that ACCESS intended to provide a peer mentorship program and was working with Verdant Health to achieve this.

Councilmember Patrick Decker asked if the Keep Dreams Alive Foundation would be providing the classes to Lynnwood residents specifically, as the organization is not centered in the city and has previously provided its assistance to areas north of Lynnwood. Executive Director Dafne Powell confirmed that these classes would be provided to Lynnwood residents and mentioned that the curriculum would be tailored to educate these residents specifically. 

Sgt. Lindsay Pool said that fewer people asked for assistance in the summer as conditions outside were more tolerable.

Hurst asked the Lynnwood Police Department how long the $20,000 would last them. Sgt. Lindsay Pool replied that it was hard to determine as the department had no data to base this on. 

“In previous years, we ran out of money before the winter months.” Pool said, adding that there was greater need for housing during winter because of the cold. She said that she believed it would be enough to last the year and that the department had once again received hotel vouchers. Council Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby reaffirmed this question and asked if the incoming light rail would increase this need. Pool stated once again that this was not something she could accurately predict. 

Sessions asked if the Lynnwood Police Department had considered alternative avenues for funding as the current source of funding was not sustainable in the long term. Pool stated that she was not aware of any other options that police weren’t already utilizing and brought up the idea of implementing a provisional allotment into the city’s yearly budget.

The council will make a decision on the final ARPA allocations at a later date.

Chris Simmons, Ric Ilgenfritz and Jennifer Hass of Community Transit

In other business, officials from Community Transit updated the council on the agency’s services. 

Of note, Community Transit will be changing bus routes to accommodate more people throughout Lynnwood and one of its major focuses is ensuring that riders have transportation to new light rail stations opening next year. Routes are planned to change sometime in 2024, though timing is variable depending on light rail construction. The planned changes include more frequent service and an express “network” to improve trips to Seattle, particularly during peak times. Additionally, the Swift Orange Line will add a rapid route between McCollum Park, Mill Creek, Ash Way Park and Ride, Alderwood Mall, Lynnwood Transit Center Light Rail Station and Edmonds College. It will also connect to the Swift Blue and Green lines.

Later, Community Transit discussed the success of its Alderwood Zip pilot service. The service is a “microtransit” option that brings ridership to individuals or small groups and connects them to destinations within a specified area – in this pilot, the Alderwood Mall area. Of the 1,083 customers that used the service since its inception last October, 72% took multiple trips. The average number of trips per person was about 18. Transit officials said that the Zip fulfilled each of its goals and recommended that the service continue and grow its fleet to accommodate more riders. Community Transit is currently seeking community input on the Zip Alderwood Shuttle via this survey. 

Parks and Recreation department presenters included Director Lynn Sordel, and, Senior Park Planner Monica Thompson and Deputy Director Sarah Olson.

Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Sarah Olson presented the second of three briefings on the ParksLove project, this time focusing on the capital planning and evaluation portion of the development. The previous presentation to the council in June focused on the research and broader goals of the project. ParksLove received a $300,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association’s resilient park access grant program, with the goal of making Lynnwood’s parks more environmentally resilient and equitable. During the briefing, Olson described the project’s decision-making process, which quantified and prioritized the best use of park funds to reach as many individuals as possible. 

Olson said that the drafted projects would also be published for community input in mid-August through the Fair on 44th, which takes place on Sept. 9. Following this, a final list and ranking will be published and feedback on that will be accepted until Oct. 1. When complete, project staff will seek council adoption of the Park & Trail Capital Plan, which will contain a 12-year priority project list with implementation strategies.

Community Planning Manager Karl Almgren said that the ordinance would be passed on to the planning commission for review and then brought to the council later in the year.

Regarding the ongoing topic of regulations for essential public facilities, Community Planning Manager Karl Almgren provided the council with a preliminary draft ordinance that he said would update local zoning ordinances for compliance with state law to improve clarity. The updates are also designed to inform the community earlier in the essential public facilities application process and improve methodology for siting such facilities.

Mayor Christine Frizzell said that gun locks would be available for free through the Lynnwood police station after the event.

During her comments, Mayor Christine Frizzell announced Aug. 23 as the date of an upcoming gun buyback program at Lynnwood City Hall. The council in June approved allocating $15,000 in ARPA funds to host the program, which provides gift cards to those turning in unused firearms.  

–By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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