When the Ardmore Development Authority began looking at ownership of the Colvert Dairy Building, there was a vision for what it could be.
Grants were awarded to both the city and the ADA from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the purpose of creating the Ardmore Community Resource Center. But between the time the grants were awarded and the ADA took possession of the property, potential tenants had moved on with their own plans.
If the ADA is going to be able to utilize the building for the purpose in which the HUD grants were awarded, time is of the essence. The city's grant, in the amount of $217,000, will expire Sept. 30. Brian Carter, ADA interim President and CEO, said he has had discussions with individuals and would like to gauge public interest in moving forward with a community project. Both grants for the refurbishment of the building total $550,000, which falls short of the funding needed. The ADA began discussing the building during its meeting in March.
"We know it will be expensive to refurbish the building," Carter said. "We estimate it will cost between $1 million and $1.5 million."
The cost would include removing asbestos. Windows will also need to be repaired, as the building has become a sanctuary for birds. To best use the grant funding, the ADA will need to fine-tune its vision for the building.
Carter said the building is historically significant and it can be an umbrella building for community-oriented services to gather under one roof.
Rebuilding the original vision will be an uphill battle with the current grants. The city grant was awarded in 2006 and the ADA grant was awarded in 2008 with the Colvert building as the designated recipient. Discussions were beyond the development stage in terms of securing the building. There was a two-year lapse from the awarding of the ADA grant and its taking possession of the building because the property went into probate following Raymond Colvert's death in March 2008. By the time the ADA took possession in 2010, the interested parties had moved on.
"The original vision was to pool together a community services hub of organizations and foundations that have a people-serving mission," Carter said. "Most of those players have developed other visions. The community services mission holds, but we don't have any particular players."
The ADA could move forward and use the city grant to begin refurbishing the building in hopes of, if you build it, they will come. But it might not seem prudent to spend government money without a final determination for the building.
"We certainly could spend the grant money in hopes our vision comes about," Carter said. "But folks could say you spent the money without knowing what we would do with the building. We also know it will cost more money than we have with the grants."
Should the city grant expire, the ADA would still have two years until its grant of $333,000 expires. But the ADA would like some community input to see if there is an interest developed for the building.
"If we don't spend the grant, it is not any worse than it has been," Carter said. "The ADA would still own the building and it can have an interesting purpose. It's not a problem if we don't spend the money. But before we turn the money back in, we want to see if there is a community service concept we could apply the money toward."
Such uses could include social service organizations, job training programs, professional and life skill training and secure record storage.
If an interested party would like to express interest or discuss usage of the building, they are invited to contact Carter at (580) 223-7765 or at email@example.com.