Capital Campaign Update: Our Plan Evolves

Campaign Chair Sue Bender led Sunday's discussion.

The search for a site for our new home will continue. 

That was the bottom line in Sunday’s post-service Coffee Chat at which Capital Campaign Chair Sue Bender and Planning Committee Chair Harry Moran discussed the latest developments in the effort to move to a new meetinghouse. While the property at 588 Lake Avenue that the Planning Committee has been exploring for the last six months is still in the running, there was nearly unanimous agreement among those in attendance that we should consider properties to the south where the population is growing most rapidly. 

“We’re on a productive path, but there may be options to consider in terms of the best and most viable property situation,” said Board President Pam Collins. 

Thanks to the success of the Foundation Phase of the campaign, we have built an asset of $400,000 to go toward the creation of a new campus for the church, Bender said. “We now need to ask: How do we build on this success?”

A major step in the planning will be the “Creating our Future” weekend workshop set for Saturday, May 2 at the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church. Led by our campaign consultant, Liz Coit, the workshop will feature small-group, facilitator-led discussions. The results of these sessions will be distilled the next day in the production of a three-to-five-year plan. 

Among questions to be asked: 

  • What do we aspire to do and be as a community for each other and within the broader Saratoga community?
  • How will our new campus support our aspirations?
  • Do we have the appetite for undertaking a major, transformative commitment?

Prior to the workshop, Bender said, the Campaign and Planning committees will aim to complete an in-depth analysis of potential sites to be considered and obtain an accurate estimate of the cost of construction.  This will lead to a revised projection of the goal for our capital campaign. 

“The real estate market continues to be hot, so costs of land and construction continue to rise,” said Moran. “Upfront fees for land evaluation and architects also are inevitable and the work is critical. We will make no offers without the background work to ensure the wisdom of the purchase.”

At Sunday’s Coffee Chat, Eric Lawson pointed at two possibilities on Route 9 north of Exit 13, both of which would cost considerably more than the site on Lake Avenue. One is the six-acre site of the former Bravo Restaurant. The other is a 5.8-acre parcel of vacant land directly across the road from the former restaurant. 

The former is priced at $1,495,000 and the latter at $545,000. The purchase of either would necessitate exceeding the $300,000 budget approved by the congregation based on the Planning Committee’s financial analysis. 

The Campaign Committee will issue a release shortly to inform the community of our search for a suitable property. Moran asked members to email leads to him, providing address, parcel size, price and contact information.