Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Chelan City Council discusses seed funding for new Boys & Girls Club

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CHELAN – Seed funding and future operating expenses for a new Boys & Girls Club destined for the Lake Chelan Community Center (LCCC) was discussed and generally supported at the regular bi-monthly meeting of the city council on June 11.

City Administrator Wade Farris explained a proposed reallocation to the new club of $233,905 in unobligated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that must be assigned by the end of 2025.

Finance Director Jackie Tupling cited the Lake Chelan Food Bank’s use of a similar award of ARPA funds. 

“They are diligently using those funds to go forward with their project of expanding the food bank,” said Tupling. 

Some concern was expressed over other city projects that would also benefit from those ARPA dollars.

“When we were first discussing the use of ARPA funds a couple of years ago…using these funds in a way that would build a foundation for organizations that needed that first step to take off and do grander things within the community,” said McCardle. “Funding that first step to go and do great things.”

Council member Bob Goedde weighed in on the side of the new club. 

“Of all the projects I have looked at…this $200,000 to get a Boys & Girls Club - that is a totally underserved group of people - that’s my target,” said Goedde. “We gave $200,000 to the food bank to look at putting a third floor on it, and this is far better served to the group I’m looking at.”

LCCC board member Adam Rynd addressed concerns regarding whether the city would have to cover the club’s annual $96,000 rental cost.

“I wrote the lease for the Boys & Girls Club,” said Rynd. “We have already secured private donations for the first five years of lease commitment, so the city is not obligated to any of that.”

Ryan said the $233,000 is an incubation investment to get tentative improvements completed so they can establish the facility for its use.

“We think it’s a great anchor tenant for the community center and a lynchpin for raising additional funds to finish the gym and continue with programming for the community center as well.” aid Rynd.

“In fact, as part of their lease they will actually be the property managers for the community center so they can help run it most efficiently and effectively.”

Rynd said the typical Boys & Girls Club pays no rent and used the Brewster club as an example.

“The Brewster Boys & Girls Club facility is owned by the City of Brewster,” said Rynd. “They get a $1 per year rent. That’s it.”

Chelan will join Brewster among the 27 clubs that operate under the 501(c)(3) nonprofit umbrella of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.

“In our case, we have secured private donations from local and Puget Sound area donors to offset the rent expense the community center needs in order to service its own building expenses,” said Rynd. “We have a number of sponsors, including an individual donor who is going to contribute up to $50,000 per year to offset to the quarter-million-dollar expense for the first year of tenancy.”

With the city’s AAU director nearing retirement, Farris said the city is also exploring the transfer of the AAU program to the Boys & Girls Club to manage, a savings of about $50,000 for the city.

Rynd said he will arrange for a Boys & Girls Club representative to attend the June 25 council meeting and explain in more detail the new club's sustainable operating strategy.

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483 or michael@ward.media

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