Two local projects could get federal boost

Two local projects could be in line to receive a combined $1.25 million from the federal government.

Two local projects could be in line to receive a combined $1.25 million from the federal government.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray recently announced she has secured funding for United Way’s Non-Profit Community Center and the Naval Avenue Early Learning and Community Center in the Fiscal Year 2010 Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.

The bill passed through the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee and now moves to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.

United Way of Kitsap County’s Non-Profit Community Center, set to receive $500,000, will house several local non-profit agencies and organizations.

“Our aim is to have the greatest positive impact on the lives of those who need our help the most. This project is not just about a building, it is about bringing the community together and focusing our collective resources on creating measurable and lasting change,” said David Foote, United Way of Kitsap County executive director.

United Way is remodeling its 19,000-square-foot building, located at 647 Fourth St. in Bremerton, to serve as a hub for area non-profits, civic groups, businesses and the public.

Foote said the renovations will cost $1.35 million and the $500,000 in federal funds is “absolutely wonderful.”

“That puts us well on our way to meeting our goal,” he said.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $120,000 to the project and United Way of Kitsap County is attempting to raise $750,000 through a capital campaign. Foote said United Way has raised about $382,000 so far.

“It’s been tough going, but we’re slowly getting there,” he said.

The community center houses a volunteer center, offers local non-profits affordable rental rates and creates central meeting spaces for area agencies.

Foote said United Way and several local organizations, including Catholic Community Services, Puget Sound Renters Association and Lutheran Community Services, currently can be found in the building.

The center also is home to United Way’s Cooperative Collection resource library, offering non-profits and other grant-seekers access to thousands of written and electronic publications.

“Before this, folks had to go over to Seattle or Tacoma to do this kind of research,” Foote said.

United Way partnered with Kitsap Regional Library to make the resource library possible.

Foote said he hopes to have the building completely renovated by 2012.

The Naval Avenue facility would get $750,000 to expand the center, which will provide Head Start, Early Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance programs.