LYNNWOOD, Wash., February 25, 2022 – The City of Lynnwood held an online Open House on the design process of the new Lynnwood Community Recovery Center, February 15.
Moderated by Communications and Public Affairs Officer Julie Moore, the panel included Chief of Police Jim Nelson, Chief Strategy Officer for RI International Jamie Sellar, Representative Lauren Davis, Public Affairs and Communications Manager for Lynnwood PD Joanna Small, and others who walked the public through the first-of-its-kind center in the area with updates on its current design, services, and funding.
“As someone who has spent the last decade of my career working in behavioral health it’s really exciting because neither a jail cell nor an emergency department are a therapeutic place for someone experiencing a psychiatric crisis or substance use emergency,” Rep. Davis said.
Chief Nelson began the evening with virtual renderings of the proposed building, which will be located off 194th, co-located with the future Community Justice Center.
The first floor of the CRC will be primarily a staff area, including offices and meeting spaces. The floor will be connected to the building’s medical portion, which was redesigned to be located outside of the jail portion.
The second floor of the CRC will house short-term stays for people who are transitioning out of the recovery center or just need some extra time to stabilize, housing 15 beds and a workspace for staff and services.
On the third floor, the current design plan features a “living room” space, complete with lounge chairs, which will function as the initial patient intake and screening area. The living room model is designed to prevent suicidal thoughts or feeling isolated or unwanted.
The third floor will also feature two points of entry: one for the public where the parking lot deck connects to the CRC and one for police drop-offs located on the same side.
Jamie Sellar took over to explain the level of service that will be provided at the center, including a 24-hour observational unit and a 16-bed inpatient program. The center is designed for short-term (less than 24-hours) visits to avoid turning people away for capacity issues and to allow transfer to other long-term services if needed.
An included Crisis Center will also offer various types of services that cater to patients whose condition does not warrant a trip to the ER but are not necessarily in a safe enough condition to go home either. These services include helping people suffering from mental health issues, such as suicidal thoughts or severe anxiety attacks, as well as people suffering from substance abuse issues.
After Sellar’s update, Rep. Lauren Davis continued the presentation with the funding aspects of the project.
The project’s $17 million price tag has a remaining balance of $12 million after factoring in the $3 million awarded from the county and the $2 million Department of Commerce grant Davis predicts will be awarded for the project in March. The remaining $12 million will be asked for from the State Capital Budget via a non-competitive, direct appropriation.
Davis further indicated that she expects to receive a much more substantial allocation this year than she initially anticipated. Confident that the project will receive “something in the seven figures this year,” Davis explains this optimism is due in large part to Gov. Jay Inslee prioritizing mental health in his 2022 budget plan.
In his proposed Supplemental Budget for 2022, Gov. Inslee allocated $60 million for crisis stabilization facilities. According to Davis, the governor was able to do so thanks to the $6 billion the state still has from COVID-19 federal relief packages. During Monday’s work session, Davis expressed her confidence in receiving additional funding for the CRC as it meets the criterion set forth in Gov. Inslee’s budget.
Following Chief Nelson, Sellar, and Rep. Davis’ updates, the floor was then open for public questions, allowing virtual attendees to participate through social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook, as well as an online survey.
In March 2021, the city began discussing plans to build a new $64 million Community Justice Center (CJC), including the rebuilding of the existing police department, re-imagining the misdemeanor jail, a remodeled court while expanding east to the adjacent vacant, city-owned wooded area.
Due to community concerns regarding an in-custody death at a Lynnwood jail in August 2021, the city decided to postpone moving forward with the CJC in order to reevaluate how to add more health and mental health services without changing the original design footprint. The investigation of the in-custody death is nearly complete and the city aims to offer more information to the community once the information has been shared with the family.
In that same month, a multi-disciplined task force was established that developed a recommendation to the Lynnwood City Council to create a separate but co-located Community Recovery Center at the site of the Community Justice Center. City Council agreed with this recommendation and approved a contract for the design of the center.
On September 7, 2021, Chief Jim Nelson and Representative Lauren Davis presented the findings from the task force to the Lynnwood City Council, and on September 13, 2021, City Council adopted Resolution 21-06 to build a Community Recovery Center on the site of the Community Justice Center.
The City held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 6 to celebrate the completion of the planning process of the center.
To date, the City has received $3 million in funding from Snohomish County and has applied for a $1.9 million grant through the Department of Commerce. It is actively seeking the remaining funding from the Washington State Legislature and has significant legislative support from local representatives.