Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is requesting funding for a new community center in Bethel.

“Our military families are under enormous duress, and for those families living near McChord and Fort Lewis, the problem is worsened due to the fact that there are no city services,” said Smith. “The Bethel Community Center would provide services such as continuing education, job training, technology access, and a senior center, to military families and all Bethel residents.”

This project would provide a cost effective means to badly needed services for a large rural/suburban area (2,045 square miles with 93,000 residents) that has no city government, nor city services. This area, immediately adjacent to Ft. Lewis Army Base and McChord Air Force Base, is characterized as low income, a large military population, rapid growth and very limited social/health/human services. The project would maximize funding through multiple uses of this facility to provide the following functions: a community center; teen center; senior center; community technology access center; continuing education center; job training center; water safety instruction; physical (hydro) therapy and a center for Native American cultural contributions.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Labor, Health and Human Service, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.