On Sunday, December 2 at 11:30 a.m. an all-church meeting was held in the sanctuary. Pastor Andrew welcomed all in attendance, which was well over one-hundred. There were four main topics addressed: the announcement and approval of Governing Board members for 2019; the incorporation of the church; development plans for the parking lot on the east side of the church; and the formation of member groups led by lay pastoral leaders.
Pastor Andrew noted that this meeting would not be a formal charge conference, including formal approval of plans, but an informational meeting to let everyone know how efforts are proceeding and to answer any questions members may have.
Paul Egan, chairperson of the Governing Board, thanked those on the board who were leaving their positions and he announced the new board for 2019. They include Maggie Blettner, Tom Thompson, Nora Leiderbach, Lisa Lindsey, Mike Bozarth, Beverly Thurston, Paul Egan, Dan Smith, Karissa Hulse, Mike Sullivan and Clay Miller. He noted that there remains one at-large vacancy. Non-voting members include Dick Smith and Rob Robinson. The board was approved by the congregation by a voice vote.
Pastor Andrew continued the meeting with a discussion of church incorporation and the formation of a Building Committee. He noted that approval for incorporation was given at the November 4th Central District charge conference. The Building Committee has been formed and replaces the Parking Lot Development Task Force. The new committee will approve building plans which will be presented to the charge conference for formal approval in April of 2019. The meeting was next led by Clay Smith, chairman of the Building Committee.
Clay began with discussing the history of the lot. He first noted that the church purchased the lot in the 1970’s and soon after began renting monthly parking spaces to generate income. He noted that monthly parking income will continue, as the new structure will have parking spaces.
Clay next mentioned that we have received proposals from three developers and are expecting another one soon. All of these include a new ground level daycare. The intent is to have a primary tenant leased prior to completion of construction. Currently, one hospital has shown strong interest and there may be other hospitals bidding as well. Upper floors of the building may be available for other tenants. Clay noted that the church is in need of professional guidance with the management of the overall development project. Therefore, the Building Committee has hired Cornerstone, a company with this expertise that is known professionally as an “owners representative”. By the time of the April charge conference, under their guidance, a primary tenant lease should be in place and financial plans established, including the income stream to the church. Clay then opened up the meeting to questions from members.
A member asked about parking during construction. Clay said that this issue will definitely be addressed during the planning phase, and includes the possibility of purchasing street spaces. Other accommodations will be made. There will be parking in the new building. A question was asked about soil testing for contamination. Clay said soil tests so far were good, but that more testing will be done. A question was asked about the means of communication with the congregation about the progress of the project. Clay noted that he will be serving on the Governing Board and making monthly reports. The board will in turn share the details with the congregation through the usual means. A question was asked about the notification of the groups who use the lot currently for community assistance on Saturday mornings, as time will be needed for them to make other arrangements. Clay mentioned that they have already been notified that this is coming and will be further informed as plans develop. It was also noted that those who pay for a monthly parking spot will need advance notice as well. A question was asked about the general time frames and financing. Clay said that following the April meeting, the construction phase should be approximately 18 to 24 months. The rough estimate for financing is expected to be $15 million. Clay stressed this as very preliminary. The UM Foundation may be a funding source with favorable terms. A question was asked about the current Education Wing. Clay noted that there hasn’t been a lot of focus on this issue other than the realization that it will need to be re-purposed and appropriately renovated when the daycare leaves. A question was asked about the north lot. Clay said we have been in negotiation with the owner but that the discussions have stalled. If acquired, it would help with parking during construction.
Next, Clay introduced representatives of Cornerstone: Bob Whitaker and Tad Birch. They mentioned they have been in business since 1985 and have extensive experience. They will be helping to select the tenant and to look for opportunities for the church. Clay noted that employing an Owners Representative has advantages over using a developer. First, we have the flexibility to choose a hospital, which is in line with our church mission statement. Secondly, we will retain control of decision making. Lastly, by not paying a developer we will have a greater income stream. A question was asked about the down payment needed for financing. Clay answered that this is unknown presently. Mr. Whitaker mentioned that the goal will be to keep it at a minimum, and the property will be included in the equity. Clay concluded by stating that he is always available if anyone has any questions in the future.
On another topic, Pastor Andrew shared ideas he and Pastor Scott were having regarding the formation of small groups, whereas members would be in groups of approximately 12 people. Pastor Andrew mentioned that there was a long tradition of this in Methodism, under various names such as “classes, or “circles”. The group would have lay leaders. The purpose would be to build relationships and to grow spiritually. The leaders would be in regular communication with the pastors, who would always be available when needed. He asked the members present at the meeting to consider whether they would be interested in a leadership roll and to contact him or Pastor Scott.
This concluded the meeting and the benediction was read.