By Lisa Diehl, Kansas Area communications director
The Kansas East Leadership Team approved two requests for funds from the Bridges to the Future Capital Campaign at its meeting March 17 at Countryside United Methodist Church in Topeka.
Rev. Gary Beach, conference treasurer and assistant to the bishop, reported a balance of $154,363.78 in undesignated funds available for distribution at the March meeting and requests totaling $122,270.
The first request was for significant renovations of the swimming pool at Camp Chippewa. The project brings the swimming pool up to current federal guidelines for handicap accessibility by installing a zero-entry ramp into the pool. It also includes constructing an addition on the pool house for a canteen at the pool. The amount requested for the project is $100,000.
“In order for the project to be completed by this summer, it must be started by April 12,” Beach said. “It’s my understanding that without these updates, Camp Chippewa will be in danger of losing its accreditation.”
Camp Chippewa is accredited by the American Camping Association.
A request also was presented for the Pittsburg State University Campus Ministry to replace the heating and air-conditioning system. The grant requested is $22,270.
“It is our hope that installing more efficient units will provide savings on our utility expenses as well as making the facility more hospitable by providing more control over the interior climate,” said Rev. Josh Gooding, campus minister, in the grant request.
Both requests were approved.
Bishop Scott Jones said he is looking at how the campaign will finish out. He said he’d like to see the campaign finish strong.
Jones said he plans to write letters to congregations that have not yet completed their pledges and lift up projects that are still on the horizon that may be held up if funds don’t continue to come in throughout the rest of the year and during 2013.
Rev. Kent Melcher, area superintendent for new church development, said there are three projects in the works that will be in need of Bridges funds within the next 30 to 90 days. There are not enough funds on hand now to fulfill the anticipated requests.
The first project will help Pleasant Hill UMC in Topeka with its building project. CNCD is providing eight acres of property at 46th and Button Road in Topeka. CNCD purchased the property serveral years ago in preparation for this project. However, the sanitary sewer is more than 800 feet from the property. In accordance with its policy, CNCD is responsible for providing sewer access adjacent to the property. The cost for installing the sewer will be around $250,000. CNCD will need a Bridges grant of about $50,000 to help fund those costs. The balance of the project will be paid for through a loan from the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation.
The second project is for FirstLight in Gardner. Negotiations are in progress to purchase up to eight acres of land for construction of a building. The congregation has been worshipping at the Gardner-Edgerton High School since it began six years ago. CNCD will need another $50,000 from Bridges toward the purchase of this land. The remainder of the purchase also will be funded through a loan from the area foundation.
The final project is restarting the Hispanic outreach based at Holton Evangel. The project requires support from CNCD for salary and expenses, which will be about $40,000 in 2012.
Jones will highlight these projects in his letters to congregations.
Already this year, the Leadership Team has approved requests totaling $129,395 by e-mail ballot. The first request was for $84,395 from Camp Chippewa for rebuilding the access roads on the camp site and rebuilding the camp road. The second was for $45,000 from Mision Palabra de Esperanza, formerly known as Mision Restauracion, for its 2012 budget. Both were approved.
The renovations at Camp Chippewa will allow better drainage and access for larger vehicles, specifically emergency vehicles. A parking area will be created at Gate Pond for fishing activities, and an additional access road will be constructed on the west side of the camp to allow for better traffic flow during check-in and check-out. A gate security system also will be installed to control access when the camp is closed and at night.