U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is trying to secure federal funding to build a gymnasium at the new Boys and Girls Club in Coupeville.
The project is one of 15 in the area for which Larsen is requesting earmark funding in the Fiscal Year 2024 spending bill. The congressman is requesting $2 million for the construction of the 8,000-square-foot gymnasium.
The new club building, which is located on South Main Street, is expected to open this summer. The COVID-19 pandemic and related supply chain disruptions delayed construction and drove up the cost of the project, but a dogged group of community volunteers and advocates saw the construction through to its completion.
Club personnel showed Larsen the new facility when he visited Whidbey Island earlier this month. Ken Salem, area director for the Boys and Girls Club of Snohomish County, told the representative that the new, larger club offers improved infrastructure for Coupeville children and youth, including those belonging to military families.
Salem added that the large gymnasium could serve as a potential site for community gatherings or relief administration during an emergency or disaster.
Ball fields are also planned for the site.
The new club will have a dedicated space for teenagers and a technology lab.
“I never in a million years dreamed that Coupeville would have that room,” Coupeville resident Carmen McFadyen, one of the principal advocates for the project, said during Larsen’s visit.
Larsen submitted his funding request — more than $46 million worth of District 2 community projects, including the $2 million for the Boys and Girls Club — to the House Appropriations Committee, his office announced Monday.
“The Coupeville Boys and Girls Club is very appreciative of Congressman Rick Larsen’s work to secure funding to build an 8,000 square foot gymnasium,” club Executive Director Bill Tsoukalas said. “The gymnasium will be a cornerstone for sports and fitness activities for kids and adults and also serve as an emergency location/shelter for the Town of Coupeville and Central Whidbey Island.”