Highland Center Begins $3.8 Million Fundraising Campaign For Renovations

Monterey, VA – The Highland Center is starting up a major fund-raising campaign to pay for renovation of the Highland Center building and wants the Board of Supervisors help. That was the message that Betty Mitchell, Director of the Highland Center, and Norma Murphy of the Hartsook Companies brought to the Supervisors recent work session. The Hartsook Companies are a national fundraising organization. Ms. Murphy addressed the Supervisors first about the Highland Center Renovation Project.

“You all were foresightful [sic] enough to understand that with renovations, this building could be brought back,” she says. “It could be restored, it could regain a place in the community. With the renovations, there’ll be 58% more usuable space, there will be a conference center and retreat center; and with the improvements to the auditorium, there will be enhanced opportunities not only for the arts, but also for you to invite guest speakers.”

She goes on to discuss the goals of the fundraising campaign.

“Now these are the funds that we are working to secure; the capital improvements are about 2.8 million, there will be seed money for programs for five years and that would total about a million,” says Murphy. “That includes $200,000.00 for youth programs, $250,000.00 for [agriculture] programs, and $250,000.00 for business incubator, and another $300,000.00 for community and economic development.”

Finally, Ms. Murphy talks about the groups that will be targeted in the campaign

“We conduct an integrating campaign so that we not only take care of the capital, the program, the maintenance endowment,” she says, “we will be seeking support from federal, state, local; we will approach individuals, businesses, organizations and private foundations.”

Betty Mitchell describes a state funding program for underutilized buildings.

“Moving into the section about the Virginia Industrial Revitalization Fund, it is administered through the Virginia Dept of Housing and Community Development,” says Mitchell. “It’s three million total, $600,000.00 cap per project. It must be used with an existing underutilized building. The decisions are going to be rolling through December.”

This funding program requires that a county government group be specified as the applicant. Supervisor Rexrode made the point that any agreement between the county, the Highland Center, and a state funding source would have to be written so that the county would not be responsible for any repayment of funds should the Highland Center default on the project. Ms. Mitchell will be meeting with county attorney Melissa Dowd to draw up such an agreement. This application needs to be submitted soon to qualify for the current round of funding.

The next meeting of the Highland County Board of Supervisors will be Tuesday, November 1, at 7:30 PM in the Modular Conference Center in Monterey.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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