Accessibility Presentation

 

                            I am here today to talk to you about the proposed renovation plans to make our buildings fully accessible.

 

                            First, a little history.  In 2001 we started fundraising for an elevator.  Part way through the year, we stopped the fundraising project, took the money that was accumulated and gave it to the Church for general operating funds as we were experiencing a tough year.  The fact is we should have kept going with the elevator project.

 

                            Flash forward 8 years.  In 2009, we spend a lot of time creating our Parish profile.  We develop a vision for our Church.  We decide we want to move ahead, we want to help people participate in God’s work in the world.  We develop a vision and 5 priorities:

 

              1.              Blended music for meaningful worship;

              2.              Christian education;

              3.              Active engagement with our neighbours;

              4.              New member strategy;

              5.              Stewardship education.

 

                            Then we advertised to the world that this is who we are, this is where we want to go.  We want to grow and be a vital Parish.

 

                            Then we get lucky and we land Lee Titterington as our new Priest.  Lee isn’t here very long and he conducts his first funeral at St. Bart’s.  It is a beautiful service, we invite those gathered to come upstairs for a time of fellowship and we find there are some that can’t navigate the stairs.  We made that situation work because we are the warm Parish of St. Bart’s.  Able people stay downstairs and make it a party of good memories.  It brings to our attention again that our facility is not accessible to people with physical disabilities. 

 

                            You, the Parish, tell us to explore renovations to make us accessible to all. 

 

                            So, over the past year, we spoke to architects with experience with Church renovations.  We had those proposed renovations priced.  We received plans, we had meetings to show them to you. We held a “come and see” open house and showed our plans to parishioners, neighbours and politicians.  We researched possible grants to assist us with the cost to renovate, we have applied for them and now we wait for answers.

 

                            So that’s where we are.

 

                            Now it is time to ask you the question.  Do we go ahead or do we stop?

 

                            To help you make that decision, you need more information on costs and we need a frank and honest discussion on how we pay for it.

 

                            Our best estimates are that it will cost around $300,000.  That will pay for:

 

1.              An elevator that will go from lower hall to main floor of the Church to upper hall;

 

                   2.              Enlarging both men’s and ladies washrooms;

 

3.              Renovations to the altar to make space for the choir and organist;

 

                   4.              Renovations to the narthex to create a cloakroom.

 

                            How do we pay for it?

 

1.              Apply for grants.  How much will we receive?  I am not sure.  Best guess would be $100,000;

 

2.              Personal pledges from parishioners of approximately $200,000.

 

                            Sounds daunting doesn’t it? 

 

                            Well it is!

 

                            So, let’s share the load.

 

                            My best guess is we have between 80 & 100 families who will support this project.

 

                            Let’s go with the lower number.

 

$200,000 ÷ 80 = $2,500 for each family.  Spread this out over 5 years it works out to $500 per year or $10 per week.

 

                            So, how about those people on fixed incomes who don’t think they can afford $10.00 a week.

 

                            Well, you have choices:

 

1.              Do what you can to the best of your ability.  Maybe it’s $5 a week;

 

2.              Maybe you designate $500 per year from the income from your investments;

             

                   3.              Or, you make one donation up front.

 

                            I really don’t know what is best for individual circumstances.  What I do know is this renovation has to happen if we want to survive, grow and truly become a facility that is available to anyone in our community.  I think we have reached a crossroads.  Either we progress or we stagnate.  If we decide not to do this, we continue as we are.  If we do continue as we are, eventually we will use up all of our surplus funds and possibly have to close our doors.

 

                            Or, we progress.  We renovate, market our fully accessible facility to anyone who needs it.  By renovating we send a message to our community that we are here to stay.  We are progressive.  Come and see what is happening.

 

                            We survey our neighbors to see what programs they need or what topics they would like discussed.


              So, in a little while, we are going to ask you to complete a secret ballot.  The question is “Will you, to the best of your financial ability, support the renovation accessibility project, as presented.”

 

Yes     ___                                                   No  ___                            

 

                            And remember, the money you pledge for the accessibility project is over and above your regular giving which is required for the operation of the Church.

 

                            Your corporation, Lee, June and Val, will tabulate the results and advise us when they are available.  We believe we need a positive result of at least 60% to proceed.

 

                            So let’s have that open, frank and honest discussion before we are asked to vote.

 

                            Who’s first?