Our last update was contained in the Annual Report in which we spelled out our Mission and what we have accomplished from June to January. As we approach the end of February, we are providing this brief update on what has happened and what we anticipate will happen next.
We have an ambitious goal of submitting an application for tax credit funding this fall. Key to our plan are two major components, getting the necessary zoning and an acceptable building design. We are in the process of laying the groundwork for both of these components, which involves building relationships, networking with our neighborhood and our local government, and thinking creatively about how to balance the challenges of a building that meets the goals we have of 30 to 36 apartments, office and meeting space, as well as retail space and respecting and preserving the history attached to the Fox Building.
We have begun our community engagement efforts meeting with leaders of our neighboring faith communities with positive responses. Our informational materials are currently ready and can be see at this link: Project Materials
Members of our team met with the Development Services Department and had a great opportunity to share our plans and get some clarification on what is needed as we prepare for zoning changes.
We have started to look at draft massing designs from our Architect. As a result, we have been visiting other sites to look at layout and apartment size so we can better direct our architects on the dimensions. We are looking at some creative and beneficial ways to address the challenge of preserving the façade of the Fox building in a way that works best. One way being considered is to relocate that façade so that it is next to the properties just south of us on 4th Street.
Our Historic building consultant has prepared an application to declassify the Christian Education building from “contributing” on the Historic Commission registry to “non-contributing.” We are advised that the “contributing” designation was likely attached in error, but it will require a public hearing to get the error corrected. That should happen sometime in April.
As we have not settled on exactly where on the 4th Street property the building will be situated, there is nothing to show yet in terms of drawings, but we are sticking to task and we ask that you continue to keep our work in your prayers and keep an eye out for updates. You can also talk with any of our team members about the plans. Old First members on the team are: The Rev. Michael Caine, Megan Grimm, Bob Robinson, Kathy Sykes, Beth Walker, and Jackie Williams.
– Beth Walker