By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA After recovering from sticker shock,
Community Center board members approved spending up to
$4.1 million on a new building and borrowing up to $2
million to complete the project.
"This was a very historic couple of motions,"
board chair Andy Price declared. "Weve been
bouncing this around for five or six years. We have just
nailed that sucker to the wall."
With the escalating costs of construction, the price of
the building jumped from an estimated $2.6 million last
year to $5.2 million this year. However, the building
committee spent months in negotiations working to lower
"It was a huge shock for us," building committee
chair Stewart Moon said. "We spent days looking at
the plans trying to decide what we could change. We even
hired our own consultants and engineers to look at it."
He said one issue was a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management
Agency) requirement of $1 million in concrete to hold
the building down in case of a hurricane.
Prior to the vote, board treasurer Tom Breiter gave the
board three options and outlined the advantages and disadvantages
"We have a lender that is ready to give us a loan
in the 7 percent range," he explained. "The
interest costs in terms of the project are not huge dollars.
"We have set a goal of paying off this project in
the next 24 months. In order to do that, we must raise
$50,000 per month and obtain a $600,00 Kresge grant. If
we dont get the grant, we can continue to fundraise."
Board member Peggy Douglas expressed concerns about being
able to meet the increased costs of the new building,
Executive Director Pierrette Kelly said the largest expense
is staff salaries, which wont change, and she is
in negotiations with an insurance agent. She said additional
revenue from new programs would offset increased costs.
"We would have never gone this far if we didnt
think we could cover the cost," Price added. "One
of the first things we did was an analysis of whether
we could build a new building."
Demolition of the current building is planned 30 days
after the contract is signed, and construction is expected
to take 10 to 11 months.