YWCA Family Village at Issaquah opens for tours

October 25, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The community outreach for YWCA Family Village at Issaquah started long before backhoes sliced into soil at the Issaquah Highlands site.

The outreach effort continues Oct. 29, as YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish hosts a public open house on the $53 million campus. The event and the annual Green Halloween Festival coincide.

The open house is meant to introduce guests to Family Village residents, spotlight “green” design details, and highlight a daycare center, meeting space, playground and other features open to the surrounding community. Guests can participate in a scavenger hunt on the Family Village campus.

Officials envisioned the site as a gathering place for the surrounding community. Linda Hall, YWCA senior director of housing development and operations, said the facility is a success so far.

If you go

YWCA Family Village at Issaquah community open house

  • Noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 29
  • 930 N.E. High St.
  • Free
  • Call 206-461-4451 or go to www.ywcaworks.org to learn more.

“It’s bringing people together from all walks of life for multiple purposes — and it’s serving that function,” she said. “That’s the intent. When people connect and connect in a meaningful way, great things can happen.”

The affordable housing campus includes 146 rental units. Residents started to settle into Family Village units in late May.

Tenants must meet minimum and maximum incomes to qualify. Most residents earn 50 percent or less of the median income in King County, or less than $40,700 per year for a family of four, as determined by federal calculations.

Family Village also includes apartments set aside for tenants earning 60 percent of the median income, and others for residents at the low end of the income spectrum.

“I’ve heard community members who have said, ‘I am so proud to have that in Issaquah Highlands,’ and I want them to be proud of it,” Hall said. “I want them to feel like this is really an amenity. This adds value to our community.”

Other area residents head to the campus for classes, such as Zumba, and to drop children off at a child care center, Bright Horizons at the Highlands.

“We are getting contacted almost daily by people who want to bring services as well as have places to hold functions,” Hall said.

The campus also includes a geocache — a surprise hidden on the property for people involved in geocaching to find.

“It gives people a chance to explore the property,” Gestin Suttle, YWCA public relations coordinator, said not long before the geocache debuted.

In the years before crews started construction on Family Village, YWCA leaders hosted community meetings in the highlands. Planners also incorporated elements to attract people from the surrounding community to the Family Village campus.

“We wanted to have people to have reasons to come to the campus,” Hall said.

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