April 2015 Splinters from the Board and Congregational Meeting Report

The Board reviewed information about groups who have expressed interest in purchasing the 855 Grove Street property. Mary Elaine Kiener has been in communication with the Bailey Neighborhood Association about the “best and highest use” of the Grove Street property. There was a discussion about appropriate confidentiality in real estate transactions. The Board approved having consultant Sarai Rice (formerly of the Alban Institute) come to UUCGL over the weekend of May 3. Possible topics for the weekend include stewardship planning and a cohesive communications strategy for the transition to 5509 S. Pennsylvania. The Dream Implementation Team and Loan Advisory Team provided updates. The Board discussed energy options for the new property and strategies to get information from multiple sources.

The Board received a proposed purchase agreement for the 855 Grove St. property from Sixty North, LLC, which is owned by Mike Peplowski and Matt Steigenga. Following its consideration of this proposal, as well as several letters of intent from other entities, the Board approved negotiation of a formal agreement with Sixty North. [Note: As of Monday, April 27, a final purchase agreement has been signed and an earnest deposit check received. Major terms of the agreement include: A purchase price of $975,000, standard 30-day inspection period during which the earnest money is refundable, no “special land use” contingency, and minimal lease-back costs between the date of closing and the date of our move.]

The Dream Implementation Team gave an update about meetings with the architect for final decisions. Individuals from the Loan Advisory Team have met with two banks to discuss loan options, and the feedback from the banks is very positive. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Loan Guarantee application will be submitted soon.

The Board discussed the planned visit of consultant Sarai Rice May 2-3; the goals for this visit include stewardship and strategic planning.

A proposal submitted by Julica Hermann to support a “Beloved Conversations” curriculum was approved.

Zachary Lindquist is graduating from MSU and will no longer be available to lead the Youth Choir, so the Board approved using the remaining portion of the 2015 youth choir director stipend to initiate and determine the feasibility of a Family Choir program.

The Dream Implementation Team (Dan Dettweiler, Bob Swanson, K Lovell, Kathy McWilliams) has started meeting with chairs of the Dream Focus Groups (DFG) for various regions of the building and a few other people to make final decisions needed for detailed architectural drawings to be sent to contractors for bids. As appropriate during this process, the DFG chairs may be consulting with others involved in the focus groups for input. For April and May, we are focusing on the decisions needed by the architect but will be expanding discussions, especially for art and landscaping, in the summer. If you were not involved in the Dream Focus Group planning process in January and February and would like to be involved in some way, please send an email to dream.uucgl@gmail or contact someone on the Dream Implementation Team.

We have been gathering information on energy efficiency options and met recently with individuals from Michigan Energy Options (MEO) and our architect to discuss coordination for new construction and steps needed to get rebates from utility companies for improving energy efficiency. Solar panels can be added at any stage of the process, or in a later phase, and we will continue to investigate and pursue options for energy efficiency and sustainability.

The planned timeline is to send the detailed architectural plans for bids in May, receive bids and select a contractor in June, and start construction in July. We are forming a team of people to help with oversight of construction. The target date for moving is February 2016.