Lynnwood awards $14M construction contract for CRC despite public opposition

LYNNWOOD, Wash., July 27, 2022 – Despite a vehemently opposing public comment section, the Lynnwood City Council voted to approve a contract award for the new Community Recovery Center (CRC) at Monday’s Business Meeting, July 25, with all council members voting in favor except Councilman Joshua Binda who chose to abstain.

The approved contract award will go to FORMA Construction Company in the amount of $14,279,566, with change orders up to 10% the contract amount, to build the City’s new, controversial, Community Recovery Center. FORMA was found to be the lowest, most responsive, and most responsible bidder, out of two, after the City issued a formal advertised invitation to bid on the project.

The public comments leading up to the vote were contentious, spanning over an hour, unanimously urging the council to abandon the project. Despite their opposition, Councilman Patrick Decker moved to approve the construction contract, seconded by Council President George Hurst.

“I support this motion. We’ve had extensive conversations, we’ve had great support from across the community, from our state leadership, local leadership, and county leadership,” Councilman Decker said.

Councilwoman Shannon Sessions dismissed many of the public’s comments stating that the city has consulted focus groups and health care professionals who have “100% agreed” the Recovery Center is needed to address the region’s ongoing behavioral health issues.

“To hear just random community members, some of them who aren’t even in our city, say this isn’t the right option…I would wish they would talk to these people, who are experts, who tell us this is the right route to take. And if you don’t think this is the right route to take, instead of saying it’s not, bring solutions,” Councilwoman Sessions said. “Anybody can stand up at a podium and tell us not to do something without a solution – bring solutions. This is a big deal for our community.”

George Hurst addressed some of the fiscal responsibility concerns by reminding the public the construction contract was funded entirely by separate revenue from the city including $3 million from the county, $12 million from state legislature capital budget, and a $1.94 million grant from the Department of Commerce, totaling almost $3 million more than the contract. He recognized an additional cost of $2.4 million is needed, related to services, but continued that Representative Lauren Davis is confident she can secure them before the one year deadline approaches.

Lynnwood Community Recovery Center Background

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 (CRC) 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.

American Rescue Plan Act Fund

At council’s last Business Meeting they discussed some possible ways to spend the City’s remaining $2 million American Rescue Plan Act funds. Before decisions were made on these proposed funding options Council Vice President Jim Smith reminded the public the City would like to set aside, at least, $500,000 to prepare for a, likely, upcoming recession. Smith then motioned to allocate $150,000 to Kids in Tradition, seconded by Councilwoman Julieta Altamirano-Crosby.

The County has agreed to match every dollar allocated for the Washington Kids in Tradition program, up to $150,000, which Council Vice President Smith explained is why he opted to allocate the full amount. Washington Kids in Tradition is an organization that helps children in the Edmonds School District struggling with housing or food insecurity.

“I agree this is an exciting program; for one it’s for Lynnwood kids and two, we’re doubling our money,” Council President Hurst said.

Smith’s motion passed unanimously.

Councilwoman Sessions then moved to approve $250,000 to go toward Volunteers of America Rapid Rehousing, seconded by Council Vice President Jim Smith. Like the Washington Kids in Transition the county has agreed to match whatever the city decides to allocate. Sessions also moved to approve $55,000 for the Capital Facilities Plan for the Veteran’s Hub and $40,000 for the Chamber of Commerce Shop Local campaign.

Councilwoman Sessions’ first two motions passed unanimously, but council agreed to postpone making a decision about allocating funds to the Shop Local campaign until September 6.

Council also agreed to postpone Councilwoman Altamirano-Crosby’s motion to allocate $60,000 for Fair on 44th vendor booths until September 6.

Other items and consent agenda

Council also approved a consultant contract award for Scriber Lake Trail Phase 2, and a 2022 Pavement Management Program for the 76th Avenue West Project with City of Edmonds bid award concurrence during its consent agenda.

The City opened bids for the Scriber Lake Trail project on June 29, 2022 and received six bids which ranged from $7.25 million to $10.71 million. The engineer’s estimate was $6.1 million. Public Works and PRCA staff reviewed the low bid and determined that it was responsive/responsible, recommending that council award the contract. Although the bid was higher than the engineer’s estimate, staff believed the bid was reasonable given the current costs of steel and construction bid climates. The city has 45-days to award the construction as a WSDOT funded project.

The Pavement Preservation and Rehabilitation Program is a joint project, with the City of Edmonds, that focuses on preserving the City’s pavement structure and integrity. The project to overlay 76th Avenue West, from 196th Street Southwest to Olympic View Drive, is the second of two paving projects the City of Lynnwood will construct this year. The City of Edmonds has opened bids and will be awarding the contract but needed concurrence from the City of Lynnwood in order to move forward per a previously approved Interlocal Agreement.

Additionally, City Staff presented a proposed Complete Streets Ordinance during a public hearing which council will revisit at their next Business Meeting on August 8.

The Complete Streets Ordinance is one of the two main outcomes from the Connect Lynnwood Project which was developed to improve walking and biking conditions, support a safer and more efficient transportation system, and provide safer access to schools and parks in Lynnwood.

Development of the plan included multiple forms of public outreach between 2019 and 2021, including an online survey with specific questions for Lynnwood school families, an online open house with a comprehensive preview of the plan, and tables presenting proposed biking and walking networks during park events.


Editor’s Note: 8/9/2022 Correction “Kids in Transition” was corrected to “Washington Kids in Transition.

Kienan Briscoe

Michael Kienan Briscoe (referred to by his middle name 'Kienan') has a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University and has worked as a freelancer for a variety of publications and organizations throughout New York City and Seattle. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important public tools to ensure an educated and aware society of events surrounding them. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry, playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors. He lives in Seattle with his two dogs.

Kienan Briscoe has 262 posts and counting. See all posts by Kienan Briscoe

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