Sound Transit project threatens century-old church in Lynnwood

Feb 13, 2023, 12:56 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 5:56 pm
Alderwood Community Church...
Alderwood Community Church in Lynnwood. (Courtesy Alderwood Community Church)
(Courtesy Alderwood Community Church)

A beloved, century-old congregation in Lynnwood is at risk. Alderwood Community Church, a longtime staple of the community, is on the proposed path for Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Light Rail extension.

“Currently all three proposed alignments that run from the Lynnwood Link Extension terminus to the West Alderwood (mall) station areas would impact the Church and the Compassion Center in some capacity,” according to Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher.

Tony Bollen is an Elder at ACC. He said the congregation has known about the potential disturbance for a long time. Bollen explained many in the church were excited about the first announcement of the light rail because it meant the city was growing. However, that tone has changed recently.

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“The effectiveness of the ministry we have in the middle of Lynnwood can never be replicated,” Bollen told the Jason Rantz Show. “That’s what we’re trying to get across to these folks. And I think at the end of the day, they’ll understand that.”

The church is a growing pillar that serves the community. The on-site Compassion Center is a resource for many in the area who are struggling with food insecurity and other issues. The congregation itself is represented by people from all walks of life and different backgrounds.

“We don’t think Sound Transit is evil, terrible, awful people. No, not at all,” Bollen continued. “But we do think that there’s a case to be made that [they are] ripping a gaping hole in the middle of a city that you’re trying to help develop.”

The church is not going to be torn down tomorrow. Sound Transit stated that this project is in the “early design” phase.

“We have been working with the City and WSDOT to explore potential options to mitigate impacts to the Church,” Gallagher told the Jason Rantz Show. “We are also meeting with the Church and Compassion Center to give them more information about how the process looks going forward so they can be an active participant in the public process just as we have done with any other interested parties.”

The folks with Alderwood Community Church are aware of this fact as well. Bollen and the congregation know that this project is at best several years away.

“Right now, it’s just lines on a map, but you can kind of infer from that what’s likely to happen,” Bollen said.

The public comment period for this project is open until March 10. A meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Cascade High School at 5:30 p.m., where citizen input will be received.

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Sound Transit project threatens century-old church in Lynnwood