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Community celebrates Boys & Girls Club expansion


Christopher Andersson

Kids from the Stilly Valley Little League, local flag football Broncos team and Team Extreme Volleyball cut the ribbon at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club to celebrate the club's expansion and ball fields on May 20.

Arlington officials and community members celebrated on May 20 the improvements to the Arlington Boys & Girls Club and the two ballfields next to the club that are now complete.

The project was part of the Stilly Youth Project, a group of Stillaguamish Valley recreation initiatives that began after the Oso landslide.

"When we first started talking about what we could do in the aftermath of Oso for kids in the Stilly Valley, not just for Arlington, not just for Darrington, but for the whole valley, we thought, is there a way that we could tie together a whole bunch of projects?" said Ken Klein, an executive director for the Snohomish County Executive's office and former Snohomish County Councilmember.

The group came up with five specific projects.

Those projects include an expansion of the Whitehorse Trail, which is being completed with state funds and Old School Park in Darrington, which recently had a groundbreaking.

The local Boys & Girls Club and ballparks were also part of the project.

The Boys & Girls Club received an additional gym, a computer lab, a teen center and maintenance and upkeep.

The Arlington Boys & Girls Club has had to grow to keep up with the city, and continues expanding now.

"This Boys & Girls Club opened in 1974 and the population of Arlington was 2,000," said Bill Tsoukalas, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County.

Two fields at Bill Quake Park next to the club have been upgraded with artificial turf as well.

"You'll notice we didn't have a lot of rainouts this year, and that's because of the new fields. We had a ton of rain, but hardly any rainouts," said Klein.

The projects are meant to ensure that local kids continue to have recreation options in their community.

"This is something that we have needed in our community for such a long time to ensure future generations have a safe place to go to interact with other kids," said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert.

In total about $5 million, a mix of county funds, state funds and private donations, are being invested into the community through the Stilly Youth Project.

Christopher Andersson

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert talks about the Stilly Youth Project and the recent completion of the Boys & Girls Club expansion on May 20.

"I want to thank the great leadership who came together to make something unique and wonderful happen for the young people of Arlington," said Tolbert.

Local businesses, political leaders and community members came together to support the project.

"The one thing we've learned through of all the trials and tribulations and tragedy we've gone through is the incredible community we're a part of," said U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, who represents the area.

Klein wanted to thank the number of local individuals and organizations that helped out funding the improvements.

"It wasn't just government funds, this was people opening their wallets and opening their hearts," he said.

He also expressed gratitude for being able to help the community in this way.

"This has been one of the biggest honors of my life to be a part of this project and I can't tell you how much joy it brings me," he said.


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