"Tread a path for Marge, community"
June 9, 2008 · Updated 2:59 PM
"In her many years as a downtown booster and civic leader, Marge Williams always charted a path of community goodwill. Now, as the effort to establish a non-profit center in her name hums along, islanders have a chance to set that path in stone, one brick at a time. We're pleased to report this after sitting down with our good friends Ed Kushner and Wendy Johnson this week, for an update on the Marge Williams Center project.She always asked, 'when are you going to start that brick program again?' Ed told us. The answer to Marge is - now!Regular readers of this space will be familiar with the Williams Center on Winslow Way, which when finished will become a hub for numerous island non-profit groups and service agencies. The first tenants will be Team Winslow, the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, the Housing Resources Board and the Health, Housing and Human Services Council.The drive has a target of $420,000, to complete purchase and renovation of the center in Williams' longtime home across from the Green. The effort just hit the 76 percent mark; at 90 percent, out come the hammers and saws, with a goal of having the center finished and occupied before the end of the year.This week's good news: As part of the project, the property's current entrance off Finch Place will be closed off, replaced by a memorial garden and community path of engraved Roman pavers and border bricks. Ed and Wendy believe it will be special tribute to Williams, who a decade ago led a drive that sold about 350 inscribed bricks for downtown beautification projects. Those decorative stones are now ensconced at various points around Winslow, including the pedestrian island in front of the Blackbird Bakery. She hoped to see another brick project, before she was slain in her home in August 1998.And that's where those who would still like to contribute to the Williams Center project come in. A $150 donation will get you a paver brick inscribed with your name or message, commemorating whatever you like. Better still, for $500, you can contribute a unique border brick crafted by island sculptors George Little and David Lewis. The design, pictured here, intertwines a rose motif with bees and honeycombs, symbolizing the renewal of life and the connectedness of the community. Friends of Marge will recognize the significance of the blooms themselves in the terra cotta-colored bricks - her garden at the west edge of the grounds was always resplendent with red roses.Williams Center organizers hope to sell 500 pavers and 100 of the special border bricks to help wrap up fund-raising. Sample bricks and order forms will be on display beginning next week at Bainbridge Gardens, Bay Hay and Feed, Bainbridge Bakers, Winslow Hardware and city hall, or call 842-5666.Marge's path was one of friendship and goodwill, and we ask islanders to follow her lead for this excellent project.We're almost there, folks. Buy a brick to complete the journey."