Vol 7 No. 16 - January 10, 2007

Center meets loan deadline

Work on the new Community Center is continuing uninterrupted, with the new gymnasium’s walls and roof superstructure visible in this photograph. The exterior of the Center is expected to be done by the end of February.

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

It took a few seconds, but it meant the world to Island Community Center officials on Tuesday when the Manatee County Commission authorized $100,000 toward the building fund for the new Center.

The additional funding enabled the Center to meet a deadline to raise nearly $1.1 million and secure a $1.2 million loan from Northern Trust Bank.

"It’s a wonderful thing that the county is recognizing the Community Center and all the hard work we do," Pierrette Kelly, AMICC Executive Director, said. "We are still about $15,000 short, but Northern Trust said if we get the county funding, we can move the project to the next level, so we’re moving forward."

County Commissioner Carol Whitmore brought the bid for county funding to the board.

"I’ve been prepping the commission for the last two meetings," Whitmore explained. "and Ernie (County Administrator Ernie Padgett) found some money. The thing that impressed the county is that Pierrette has raised so much money on her own. No other community center has done that."

Kelly said she is thankful for all the donors who made it possible for her to meet the deadline.

"I am grateful for the generosity of the people of this community," she said. "And the newspaper articles in the Sun made a huge difference. A couple came in Monday morning with $75,000 because they said they’d read about us in the newspaper."

In addition to the $1.1 million Kelly and Community Center officials raised to meet the terms of the loan, they have raised $2.5 million toward the $4.8 million cost of the building. But the fund raising doesn’t stop with the loan.

They still have to raise more than $1.2 million to pay back the loan and buy furniture for the Center

"Tomorrow, I still have to go out and raise more money," she said. "I’ll try to raise as much as I can before the auction. When we have a new Center and are out of debt, then I’ll be happy."

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