Holliwalk groundbreaking

Approximately 30 people gathered in the afternoon of May 7 to celebrate breaking ground for the San Juan Community Home Trust’s latest project, Holliwalk on Price Street in Friday Harbor.

“It takes commitment for projects like this to come together, and support from the community,” Ray Jackson, mayor of the Town of Friday Harbor told attendees.

According to Amanda Eichelberger, executive director of the trust, funding for Holliwalk, which consists of four duplexes, or eight family units, was woven together from multiple sources including the four-year-old county Home Fund, individual donors, as well as a state-funded CHIP grant. CHIP stands for Connecting Housing to Infrastructure Program and assists with utility connections fees which can cost well over a hundred thousand dollars.

“I feel like all I’ve done the last few months is make sure [grant and funding] paperwork is completed and sent,” Eichelberger said with a laugh. Currently, the Holliwalk units are filled, and the trust has a waiting list giving Eichelberger the drive to ramp up other affordable housing efforts.

“I don’t want there to be such a long gap before our next project,” she told the Journal at the event.

Besides donating, citizens stepped in with volunteer efforts, and several building professionals generously donated time and energy to ensure the project stayed on track and within budget.

Jackson said seeing the community unite to tackle the town and county housing crisis made him proud to be mayor.

“This is indicative of what we can do when we come together,” he said.

Heather Spaulding / Staff photo
Left to right: Amanda Eichelberg, Peter Kilpatrick, Chris Pope, and Larry Soll
Heather Spaulding / Staff photo
San Juan Community Home Trust board president Jim Goetz
Heather Spaulding / Staff photo
Mayor Ray Jackson addresses the crowd