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Local man gives boost to Waterfront Center solar initiative


Last updated 11/11/2020 at 3:24pm

Edmonds Waterfront Center

Ward Phillips at the Edmonds Waterfront Center.

Entering the final month of construction, activity at the new Edmonds Waterfront Center has been brisk. Completion of the state of the art, LEED Gold facility, that will serve as the new home of the Edmonds Senior Center (ESC) as well as offer programs and activities for people of all ages, is scheduled for early December.

Fundraising is in full swing as the ESC works to close the $2.4 million funding gap for the $16.5 million project. The community has been generous. Gifts large and small have continued to come in, despite the pandemic.

Every now and then a gift stands out from the others.

That was the case with this week's gift from Edmonds' resident J. Ward Phillips. When he called to say he was interested in the solar initiative at the new center, I offered to take him on a hardhat tour. On the tour, I learned he is a graduate of Edmonds High School class of 1958.

His three sisters all graduated from Edmonds, as well. The Phillips family moved to Edmonds in 1946 when there were still shingle mills on the waterfront.

In his career, he was involved in construction and sustainable buildings.

Ward's love of Edmonds came through in the tour. At one point he excitedly said, "No one can appreciate how extraordinary this building is unless they are standing in it."

At 80 years of age, it did not appear that he has slowed down one bit. When he asked if he could get on the roof to see the solar panels, I told him it was possible, but we would need to climb a 16-foot ladder. Undaunted, he said, "Let's go."

Ward climbed the ladder and looked out the roof hatch. While I could not make out the smile from under the mask, the smile lines along the corners of his eyes gave it away. From the top of the ladder he asked questions and made suggestions.

Once back on the floor, Ward said, "Daniel, I would like to give you $50,000 toward the solar initiative and I would like to offer another $50,000 as a community match for the next $50,000 in gifts that are directed to the solar panels."

There is a 305- panel solar array on the roof of the Waterfront Center.

Ward Phillips

To help offset the nearly $500,000 expense to go "all-green" last November (all electric and full solar) we have been offering panel sponsorship for $1,000 a panel. Each of the sponsors will be recognized as "Solar Champion" on a plaque in the building.

Before Ward's gift we had raised $107,000 toward our $305,000 solar initiative goal.

The next 50 panels purchased will be matched dollar for dollar, thanks to Phillips. If you want to sponsor a panel please mail a $1,000 check to the Edmonds Senior Center (marked solar) to PO Box 717, Edmonds, WA 98020.

Or visit our website at http://www.edmondswaterfrontcenter.org; scroll down to Solar Initiative and click on "donate."

Daniel Johnson is CEO of the Edmonds Senior Center/Edmonds Waterfront Center.


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