More than $3.4 million raised for Union Events Center
Charles Warner Editor
UNION — The Union Events Center Board is looking into the possibility of obtaining a USDA loan so work can begin as soon as possible on the proposed events center.
The Union Events Center is a 20,000 square-foot, two story, state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility that will be built at 200 N. Pinckney St. on a site donated by the City of Union. The center, which will be a public/private partnership sponsored by the UEC Board, has been part of the city’s long-range plans for more than a decade and is seen as a means of drawing people and businesses back to the downtown area.
Including construction ($2,782,977), furnishings/equipment ($630,000) and professional fees ($422,444) the center is projected to cost $3,835,421 to build. The city has provided $2 million toward the cost of building the facility and the UEC Board has been working since then to raise the balance of the funds required for construction.
During a board meeting Thursday afternoon at the Union County Development Board, UEC Board Chairman Bob Love reported that currently more $3.4 million has either been donated or pledged to the project. Love said this includes $1.85 million allocated by the City of Union; $162,000 in donations the board has received; and $1.45 million in funds pledged. He said the pledged amount includes recent pledges from Founders Federal Credit Union ($25,000) Broad River Electric Cooperative ($10,000), American Book Company ($15,000), and Dr. Gary Horvath ($5,000).
In addition to the funds already pledged, Love said the board has requested donations from BMW, Duke Power, AT&T, and Belk totaling more than $400,000. He said he is hoping to get a response from those companies by early 2014.
Love pointed out that 40 percent of the funds dedicated to the project are pledges, and that most of the pledged funds are to be donated over five years. He said that in order to move the project forward and begin construction as soon as possible, the board has been exploring various loan possibilities. One of the possibilities explored was a loan through TD Bank which would have given the board access to new market tax credits. However, Love said that the city attorney pointed out that this was not feasible as it would involve a mixing of private and public funds which the credits program does not allow.
Another alternative the board is currently exploring is a loan from the USDA. Love said this was first suggested by Robbie Moody of the Catawba Regional Planning Council. He said that he, Moody, and City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson recently met with a USDA official to discuss a loan. Love said the board is requesting a $1.5 million loan for five years which would be paid off as the pledged funds come in. He said Moody is handling the pre-application process for the board.
Family And Friends
Love also announced plans to resume the Family and Friends fund raising efforts after the first of the year.
The Family and Friends program involves persons in the community who support the Events Center inviting people into their homes for a presentation about the enter by Love or another member of the board. The goal of the meetings is to help inform the public about the project and encourage them to donate to it.
Love said he and the board are very appreciative of all those who have supported the Events Center project with their donations and pledges and other support.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.
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