Join in the Brickworks ‘barn-raiser’

Emblazoned with an emblem, the tote bag above displays a vision of what the Brickworks building is intended to be.   - Journal file photo
Emblazoned with an emblem, the tote bag above displays a vision of what the Brickworks building is intended to be.
— image credit: Journal file photo

By David Dehlendorf

Brickworks, one of the most important civic projects in the history of Friday Harbor, is currently under development in town.

If, like me, you want to see this project completed by next spring, you can volunteer no matter what your age or skill level. Financial donations are also needed to cover the cost of building materials, but my letter is about what you can do with nothing but your sweat.

So far I have worked eight hours as a volunteer on the building renovation and plan to continue to contribute at least two hours per week through completion. It doesn’t make any difference that I am 70 years old; there is always something for a person of my age and limited skills to do.

Please consider making a similar contribution, or perhaps more if you are younger and have carpentry and/or other skills. If you are like me, you will enjoy good exercise and a sense of pride in knowing that you helped bring this important project to fruition.

My involvement with the project began before the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild completed development of the Brickworks Plaza at its newly acquired property on Nichols Street earlier this year. The new plaza was a huge success this summer, with the relocated farmers market attracting enthusiastic crowds of residents and visitors alike.

In addition, the plaza now serves as a much needed venue for musical and other outdoor events. Parking never became a problem as critics of the project had claimed when the project was first announced. Also, neighboring merchants have benefited from increased foot traffic by their stores.

The project moved into its second and final stage in September, with the beginning of the renovation of the Brickworks building itself. The roof is in the process of being replaced. When it is completed in the next few weeks, work will move indoors and include structural improvements such as the removal of the second floor, the installation of new electrical and plumbing systems, and eventually a food preparation and kitchen facility.

Ravenhill Construction is managing the renovation and has a job foreman on site every work day.

When completed next spring, the renovated building will provide additional all-weather space for farmers, artists, food vendors, musicians, and a variety of special events. The building will become a much-needed multi-use, year-round facility.

If you want to volunteer, please contact Cedarbough Saeji, volunteer project coordinator, at 360-468-4054 or at, to arrange a time to start. Or just show up at the Brickworks building with nothing more than a pair of gloves and enthusiasm anytime 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, or 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday. Ask for Credence, the job foreman.

I know the Ag Guild and your fellow island residents will appreciate whatever level of support you are able to provide.


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