This year has been full of challenges and one of the most unique has been how we connect with each other while social distancing and staying safe. For a community to have a sense of place, that feeling of belonging you share as equally with friends as you do with strangers in your favorite downtown locale, there has to be somewhere you can go to connect outside your home or work—especially if your home and work are now the same place! What communities need right now are Third Places. 

Maynard Alley, Chinatown International District Seattle (pictured above)

Public Realm & Community Manager: An Huynh

Improving and revitalizing the district’s historic alleyways has been part of the Seattle International Chinatown District Preservation and Development Authority work for more than 10 years. Repaving, lighting, art, and events have returned a vital street life to the public spaces in the neighborhood starting with Canton Alley, adjacent to the Wing Luke Museum and home to the Sun May store. With summer parties and events, Canton Alley has also hosted public input sessions for the Maynard Alley improvements. For years following the fire at the Louisa Hotel, Maynard Alley was home to a gaping hole in the CID. With the reopened Louisa Hotel, storefronts have been returned to the alley. While COVID-19 delayed all plans for the alley, community artists created murals to fill the vacant storefronts. This passive activation created a new destination for our community.

Connect with this Third Place: Maynard Alley runs north-south between S. King Street and S. Weller Street, between Maynard Ave S. and 7th Ave S.

How this Third Place anchors community: Maynard Alley is one of two historic alleyways in the Chinatown International District, where people live and work in storefronts and residential units off the alleys. With the Louisa Hotel rebuilt, Maynard Alley has new storefronts on the alley, currently filled with temporary art that will be permanently installed with lighting and sanitation improvements. Our alleyways are important public spaces where street life has occurred for a century. By addressing sanitation, lighting, and adding art, we can further revitalize these important spaces and continue their legacy in the Chinatown International District.

Burlington Public Library, Burlington

Director: Sarah Ward

“Information and knowledge is empowering and life-direction changing,” says nominator Margie Wilson, and her town’s library encourages anyone and everyone to be part of Burlington’s collective story. “The Burlington Public Library (BPL) provides my community with a community-based learning environment for all ages. The BPL library staff are always thinking creatively as to how to better meet our community needs for gathering, learning, and engaging in meaningful ways. Though currently closed for our public safety there are multitudes that will stream in once their doors open again. The thirst for knowledge is a deep human drive. In my community BPL is where I can quench that thirst.”

Connect with this Third Place: 820 E Washington Avenue, Burlington or

How this Third Place anchors community: The Burlington Public Library offers an open and accessible gathering place for non-profits to share their story, their services and engage with others in the community. At BPL it is all about connecting our community. At a time in our society when connection is needed over division BPL will be the neutral common ground gathering place for our community. At BPL each individual is valued and given the tools to learn and therefore make educated decisions.

Downtown Riverwalk, Pullman

Downtown Pullman Association President: Tom Handy

“I walk and bike the Downtown Riverwalk all the time. I can walk to the trail from my home and on lunch breaks, bike the trail with my family and explore,” says nominator Jennifer Hackman. “I love how it is in the center of our downtown and connects Main Street to the WSU campus. From downtown, the trail system goes through almost every part of Pullman, from the Research Park to the parks and even to the Moscow, Idaho. I enjoy how it follows the river, especially in Spring. During COVID-19 safety restrictions, using the trail has been the best way to get outside and see people so you don’t feel like you’re completely disconnected and alone. I’ve even been on the trail and seen people I haven’t seen in a long time, and that makes me feel more connected to this community. We love our Riverwalk!”

Connect with this Third Place: The Downtown Riverwalk runs along the south and north banks of the South Fork of the Palouse River. The trailhead area is in the existing Pine Street road section located between Main Street and the river.

How this Third Place anchors community: The Downtown Riverwalk is the line that carries people to or from the heart of Pullman through the physical landscape of the downtown area. It connects different people to significant cultural and commercial places, including the many businesses in the area. Since March, the downtown Riverwalk has been a lifeline that has given people a place to walk, bike, and run, while also serving as a place where people can still spend time with or casually run into neighbors and friends. In fact, the use of the Riverwalk by students, visitors and long-time residents alike has increased significantly. A group of partners just installed additional lighting along the Riverwalk to make it even more inviting.

Vino Bella, Issaquah

Owners: Claude Blumenzweig

Nominator Corby Casler, director of Downtown Issaquah Association, shared this heartfelt send-up to Vino Bella from another community member.

“Vino Bella has been a ‘Cheers’ to me since I first moved to the Issaquah area 10 years ago,” said Bob Sprung, an Issaquah resident and business owner. “Those first few times entering the quaint establishment and being comfortably seated at the bar, Claude Blumenzweig, the proprietor, always greeted me with a smile and would introduce me to the patrons to my right and my left. Claude makes everyone who enters Vino Bella feel welcome and at home. Many of those new acquaintances turned into some of my closest friends.”

Connect with this Third Place: 99 Front Street North, Issaquah or

How this Third Place anchors community: Vino Bella is owned by a local Issaquah resident and run by others from the community. The restaurant’s dedication to serving Issaquah with online ordering and pickup, as well as expanding its menu with baked goods from a local business, demonstrate its adaptability during the pandemic. When they are able, they offer a fun, entertaining place to socialize and escape the stresses of the day. Many diners choose to sit at the sidewalk tables, sipping wine, snacking on hors d’oeuvres, and saying hello to passers-by.

Andante Italian Restaurant, Chelan

Owners: Sarah Bishop and the Bishop family

“Andante Italian Restaurant is a cornerstone to the Historic Downtown Chelan community,” according to nominator Erin McCardle, executive director of Historic Downtown Chelan Association. “Rooted in faith, this family of 6 have worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone and anyone who was hungry in our community had a place to find a hot meal – no questions asked.”

Every Monday throughout the spring and early summer, when the first round of COVID shutdowns took place, the Bishop family recruited an army of volunteers to put together to-go meals. For months, they regularly were handing out 500+ meals to those needing them the most. Even hunting down those who were known to be homeless and bringing them meals.

This family juggles raising four boys (two in college, 2 in high school) during a time when COVID has changed all the rules for education as well as operating a successful restaurant when the max capacity has been set to 50%.

Connect with this Third Place: 113 South Emerson Street, Chelan or

How this Third Place anchors community: Andante has become a role model for Chelan’s community. The Bishop family have brought out the best of their restaurant and elevated it to a place of connection – from the army of volunteers they are able to recruit every week; to becoming a safe place for those that have not been able to successfully navigate through these unprecedented times; to showing what is possible as a business to give back to their community.

Historic Roxy Theater, Bremerton

Roxy Bremerton Foundation President: Michael Goodnow

In 1941 the Roxy opened with a “Streamline Moderne” art deco façade and a lush interior that underscored the feeling of luxury taking in a film felt like after the hardships of the Great Depression. It provided years of entertainment and memory-making but after nearly 50 years closed it doors in 1988. The doors wouldn’t open to the public again until 2018, after the Roxy was restored. Long-time advocate and current Roxy Bremerton Foundation President, Michael Goodnow says, “the Roxy has quickly become a main spot in downtown Bremerton and will be center stage of the newly designated Quincy Square, named after music legend Quincy Jones.”

Connect with this Third Place: 270 4th Street, Bremerton or

How this Third Place anchors community: Roxy is a community space in addition to showing great independent films and showcasing live music. A goal is to be generous to nonprofits seeking space to showcase their work or leverage the space to fundraise. During COVID Roxy moved its liquor license on to the sidewalk and created a pop-up wine bar under the marquee for people who were seeking safe ways to gather.