The group charged with raising the funds to build the proposed Union Events Center will seek the assistance of a Georgia consulting firm to raise the money needed to complete the project.
Union City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a request by the Union Events Center Board of Directors that they be allowed to enter into a consulting agreement with First Community Development of Norcross, Ga. The board wants to enter into the agreement in order to organize and implement a fund raising campaign to raise $1.5 million to complete the Union Events Center Project.
The proposed 25,000 square-foot, two-story events center has been part of the city’s long-range plans for more than a decade and is seen by officials as a means of helping draw people back to the downtown area. It would be located at the intersection of North Pinckney Street and Sharpe Avenue on the site of the old Teritex building which the city demolished two years ago. The center would include a 300-seat theater which would be used for theatrical productions by the Boogaloo Folklife Productions and other interested parties both from within and without the county. The facility would also have space available for receptions, seminars, business meetings and others activities.
While it paid for the removal of the asbestos from and the demolition of the Teritex building and the clean up of the property, the city has placed the responsibility for raising funds for the construction of the events center in the hands of a board of directors. The board has since been raising funds from a variety of sources to finance the construction of the proposed facility.
In a statement presented to council Wednesday morning, the board pointed out that it will cost an estimated $3,652,444 to build the facility. As of Wednesday, the board had raised $2,181,500, leaving a balance of approximately $1.2 million to be raised.
Despite this, the board’s fund raising efforts “have met with limited success in the past few months. We have found the fund raising environment to be difficult during these economic times. We have a shortfall of $1.2 million before we can begin our center. We have exhausted the corporate and public contacts with which we have relationships and feel it it is time to consider other avenues.”
Those “other avenues” involve retaining the services of First Community, which would “review our fund raising materials, our contacts and commitments to date and determine steps to help us reach our goal.” The board will limit its spending in its agreement with First Community to $10,000 “while we revise our fund raising efforts. If we decide to proceed with First Community, we will return to council for full approval of our final plan.”
The money for the consulting agreement will come from the board’s existing funds.
The information presented council included a letter to Love from Steve Dorough, founder and CEO of First Community, recommending that, initially, the board should engage his organization’s services via a consulting agreement. Dorough pointed out that First Community has been in business for the past 35 years, handling fund raising campaigns for “Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Authorities, Downtown Revitalization Organizations, Main Street, BBB and other Corporate-Driven, Non-Profit Organizations.”
Recent campaigns conducted by First Community for its clients include Main Street Matters for the Mississippi Main Street Association which raised $1.75 million out of a $1.8 million goal; Prep for the Future for Aiken Preparatory School which raised $1.8 million or $300,000 more than its goal of $1.5 million; Partnership for Tomorrow for the Greer Consortium which $1,6 million or $100,000 more than its $1.5 million goal; Momentum 21 for the Metropolitan Development Board which raised $12.5 million or $1 million more than its $11.5 million goal; and Building for the Arts which raised $10 million or $2 million more than its $8 million goal.
Board Chairman Bob Love, said Monday that the board decided to retain the services of First Community because of its track record as a fund raising organization.
“The folks at First Community Development come highly recommended,” Love said. “This is what they do for a living.”
Love said he will meet Dorough Aug. 9 to get the process started.
Anyone interested in support the Union Events Center Project should contact Bob Love at 427-5423. Any and all contributions to the project are tax deductible.