The proposed Lynnwood Community Recovery Center was the topic of discussion for the Lynnwood City Council during Tuesday’s work session meeting.
The Community Recovery Center is an addition to the planned Community Justice Center project, which includes expanding the city’s police department, municipal court and jail. The Community Recovery Center will be combined with the Community Health Center to provide beds and adequate treatment for mental and behavioral health issues, as well as addiction recovery.
“I would think the Community Recovery Center is really our number-one priority for this session,” said Council President George Hurst.
During the Monday meeting, Lynnwood Public Affairs Officer Julie Moore briefed the council on the city’s legislative priorities for 2022, which the city will lobby for with state and federal lawmakers during the annual City Action Days. During the event, councilmembers will attend meetings to connect with state lawmakers to discuss and lobby for the city’s legislative priorities. The council then spends the rest of the year advocating for funding or seeking support for new projects.
Among the priorities was the city’s infrastructure. Last year, Washington State was included as a recipient of funding for the Federal Infrastructure Bill. However, Moore said the federal government hasn’t opened the grant process for receiving payments yet, and the City of Lynnwood hasn’t yet been awarded its funding.
Though the federal infrastructure bill’s funding isn’t guaranteed, the new projects that are planned are bridges, improving Lynnwood’s City Center district, and improvements to sidewalks to make the city more pedestrian friendly. Additionally, the legislative priorities draft listed support for the completion of Sound Transit 2, which includes expanding Link light rail from Northgate to Lynnwood in 2024 and eventually into Everett in 2036.
Several councilmembers said that the proposed Community Recovery Center project should be a top priority as it has the most urgent need for extra funding.
Last summer, the council heard concern from the community after a female inmate died by suicide in the jail. As a result, the council created a task force, which proposed reducing the number of jail beds to make room for a separate emergency mental health facility.
During a call on Thursday, Councilmember Shannon Sessions – who was part of the task force – said she recognized how the incident affected the Lynnwood community.
“It was a sad situation that just amplifies how we have a lot of hurting people and we need help with substance abuse issues,” she said.
Sessions also said that the council has several other project ideas that are ready for funding and should be highlighted in conversations with lobbyists.
“I think so many cities and jurisdictions bring stuff that they wish they had, where our stuff is ready to go…shovels in the ground, you know, plans ready, infrastructure ready,” she said.
In other business, the council reviewed agenda topics for its upcoming annual summit meeting. During the summit, councilmembers hold in-depth discussions on important matters that they typically do not have time to talk about at regular meetings.
Councilmember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby proposed creating a youth council to involve students from the Edmonds School District so they can learn more about the city government.
“We have to create that bridge again and communicate,” she said. “I would like to continue working with the families and also with the students.”
Altamirano-Crosby’s proposal was supported by other councilmembers.
The council will hold its annual summit event in-person on Saturday, Jan. 29 in Mukilteo.
–By Adrienne Washington