It’s Happening! Groundbreaking, we have our contractor, and more!

Well, fans, so much has happened that I hardly know where to start! Among the biggies:

Groundbreaking for Quixote Village

On Saturday, the residents of Camp Quixote and Panza put on quite a show for 150 plus members of the public.  In attendance were former residents of Camp Quixote, Frank Chopp (Speaker) and others from the state House of Representatives, Thurston County Commissioners Karen Valenzuela and Sandra Romero, and Olympia City Council members Roe, Hankins and Jones, as well as many familiar faces from the ranks of friends and volunteers that have supported Camp Quixote over the years.  Camp residents and Panza Board members sported blue Quixote Village t-shirts adorned with an excellent design by Camp resident Jon Colt (see photo).  Music, including a final sing-a-long to Pete Seeger’s “If I had a Hammer,” was provided by the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Church Choir.

Jon Colt’s t-shirt design

The event was an opportunity for the residents of Camp Quixote and members of Panza to thank those who had major roles in making Quixote Village happen, from legislators and local officials who fought for funding, to Garner Miller at MSGS Architects, our attorney Barnett Kalikow, Ginger Segal from Community Frameworks, and others who have worked so hard, often on a pro bono basis, to bring us to this point.

Speaking for the Camp residents, Jon Colt was witty and sincere in thanking the scads of people who have supported the camp, as hosts and movers, over the years.  Former Panza president and Camp mother, Jill Severn, spoke eloquently of Quixote Village, saying, “We are not just breaking ground, we are breaking new ground by building a new kind of housing for people who’ve been homeless.” She received a standing ovation from the assemblage.  Yours truly took the opportunity to express our thanks to the faith communities who have supported the Camp with funds and by hosting for the past seven years.

Camp Quixote President Steve Clark and resident Kevin Johnson break ground.

I also informed the crowd of some of our recent difficulties with funding for Quixote Village, including the loss of promised Section 8 vouchers that had been expected to make up a significant portion of the annual operating costs for the Village (including rents from the residents themselves).  We are continuing to seek every new opportunity for construction and operations money, but as suggested by the theme of the day–“It takes a village to build a village”–we need help from everyone.  Please consider making a contribution to Camp Quixote, Quixote Village and Panza today by clicking on the “Donate Now” button to the right.  You, too, can help make this extraordinary experiment in reducing homelessness in our community happen!

The Bids are In!

Last week seven firms submitted bids to build Quixote Village, and the low bidder was Construct, Inc. of Olympia.  Happily the bid was in line with our expectations. We even have been able to contemplate adding back in some of the items, like downspouts and gutters, that we were forced to set aside as only “possibles” when we got new cost estimates earlier this year.

There are still some i’s to dot and t’s to cross, but if all goes according to plan, building will actually start later this month, and of course our goal is to get the residents into their new homes before Christmas.  Andrew Christiansen, owner of Construct, Inc. was able to join us for the groundbreaking.  Welcome, Andrew and crew!