MANKATO — VINE Faith in Action is one more step, and one more dollar, closer to building its dream facility in Mankato.
The nonprofit group came before the Blue Earth County Board Tuesday to give an update on its capital campaign. The board had wanted VINE to meet a fundraising goal of $1.7 million by July 31.
“And we did it,” said Pam Determan, VINE’s executive director.
With that, the county is poised to sell to VINE the Nichols Office Building, which used to house county offices, for $1.
VINE’s fundraising breaks down like this:
Most of the $1.7 comes from more than $1 million in cash contributions. The next biggest chunk comes from donated goods and services, which VINE values at $232,000. They’ve got pledges totaling $217,000, and grants from the Otto Bremer Foundation and Mardag Foundation totaling $190,000. A “fundraising net,” valued at $44,635, brings the total to roughly $1.7 million.
The total cost of the project is about $4 million.
As for selling the building to a nonprofit group for next to nothing, County Administrator Bob Meyer says it was the right thing to do for a building for which there were not takers at the county’s asking price.
“As we look at the demographics of our aging population, more and more we are going to have to be a community that has services for aging adults,” Meyer said. “From a global perspective, services like what VINE provides will allow people to stay in their homes longer. ... It’s a real plus for Blue Earth County to have that type of service in Mankato.”
The county, it appears, also will be on the hook for repayment of a state loan for asbestos abatement in the building.
As for what the building will offer:
* A multi-use 4-feet-deep warm water pool.
* A technology center with computers for personal use and to accommodate VINE-provided tax services.
* A fitness center featuring specialized exercise equipment for those 55-plus.
* A cafe/coffee shop.
* A large multi-purpose room for fitness classes, dances and community use.
* A cushioned third-floor walking track (12 laps will equal one mile).
* A respite center where adult caregivers can take a break.
* A yoga studio and game room.
The county now has 45 days to transfer the property to VINE. At that point, they’ll begin renovation. Determan said they’re hoping to get much of the exterior done before winter comes so that workers can continue working on the inside of the building during the winter.
If all goes well, they’re hoping to get the building done by the fall 2013.
Mark Piepho, chairman of the Blue Earth County Board, said he’s happy the building is going to be put to good use.
“It’s good for the community and a good thing for the people of Blue Earth County,” he said. “If they can make it work, great. It’s a worthwhile project.”
The capital campaign had more than 1,400 donors. The very first donation was a $1 bill given to them by longtime volunteer Dave Breiter. It is his dollar, Determan said, that will be handed over to the county as payment for the Nichols building.