The Anna Maria Island Community Center may be forced to close in a few weeks for lack of funds. It is almost down to its last dollar, executive director Dawn Stiles said.
Stiles scheduled a “Save the Center” town meeting for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, at the center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, to discuss the situation.
“We are definitely in a financial crisis,” Stiles said.
With about $60,000 remaining in its operating account, Stiles said the center might have enough funds to remain open another 30 days.
She asked “everyone to come to the meeting and let’s come together to save the center. We need to decide if we want to keep the center open — or not.”
With few revenue-producing programs planned during the summer, Stiles said the situation is critical.
“If we are to remain open, we need immediate funding,” she said.
An effort to refinance the center’s $4.5 million loan was unsuccessful, she said.
“We pay $8,666 a month to the bank. We’re not behind, but they have declined to rework the loan to a lower interest rate.”
Stiles said further details of the center’s financial situation would be brought up at the June 4 meeting. The board of directors and staff will attend, she said.
“There’s just no money left,” Stiles said.
“Even eliminating a few positions would not make a dent, and we’re already operating with minimal staff.”
In 2001, the then-board of directors agreed to remodel the center for an estimated $2.5 million. That project eventually resulted in an entirely new building, including a new gym, classrooms and offices.
But the Florida economy was hit by a recession around 2005, and building costs skyrocketed, according to contractors that worked on the project. The final cost was $4.5 million and the project took three years to complete.
The monthly mortgage payment “does put a dent” in the center’s financial position, Stiles said.
She said that she researched past audits and found the center was “in the black” before the building mortgage. She learned the center has operated “in the red,” she said, for eight years.
The meeting is to come up with reasonable and immediate solutions to continue operating the center, she said.
“Please — everyone — come,” Stiles said.