Work on the new Community Center is continuing
uninterrupted, with the new gymnasiums 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.
"Its 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 were moving forward."
County Commissioner Carol Whitmore brought the bid for
county funding to the board.
"Ive 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 theyd
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 doesnt stop with
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. "Ill try to raise as
much as I can before the auction. When we have a new Center
and are out of debt, then Ill be happy."