By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
That’s four times the total amount they expect to get from insurance.
But if ever there was a can-do crew, it’s this one, and HPIC board members presented an optimistic, determined front at an online Town Hall tonight updating the community on the rebuilding plan – including how you can help even if you can’t donate a dime.
The new estimate came from architect Wittman Estes – whose designs were shown and discussed at previous Town Halls – and newly hired contractor Metis Construction. It’s for a building envisioned aw a “future connector and heart of our community” in multiple ways, not the least of which is as a performing-arts center. That’s important because of a big grant they’ve just landed: $400,000 from the Washington State Building for the Arts. This is a prestigious, competitive statewide grant, and HPIC trustees are ecstatic they got it. Add that sum to the expected insurance money and $55,000 already received in community donations, and they’re up to $1,205,000.
But they need community support to lock in that grant, as it requires State Legislature approval, so they’re asking for people to contact first Governor Inslee and then local legislators to ensure the grant goes through. The message: What HPIC means/has meant to you. It’s been a community center for more than a century, hosting celebrations, meetings, bazaars, workshops, performances, and in times of trouble – like the pandemic – campaigns to help, like emergency food distribution. If you don’t have your own message to convey, HPIC has a suggested template on its website, as well as information on how to get your message to the governor. Get a message to him by Thanksgiving, and then attention will turn to state legislators before they convene in Olympia early next year: Our area’s State Senator Joe Nguyen, State House Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, and State House Rep.-elect Emily Alvarado.
And while they mount a letter-writing campaign to secure that $400,000, HPIC board president Rhonda Smith said, “We need to start working in the direction to find (the rest of the) money – if we can’t raise this money, we can’t rebuild the building.” They’re acutely aware that the charred HPIC, at 12th/Holden, is an eyesore, and even if all goes well, will remain that way for a while – they have a tentative date to submit building permits in February, and once permits are granted, construction is likely to last a year. If necessary, they said, the building can be built in phases – even if only part of it can be occupied for starters.
While strategizing how to fundraise, they’re also grappling with how to continue serving and connecting the community despite the lack of a building, They’re welcoming “fresh ideas” and more volunteers on that front as well as the search for dollars. If you are interested in helping – or have an idea about funding sources – firstname.lastname@example.org is how to contact them. And watch hpic1919.org for updates.
ADDED FRIDAY: HPIC has uploaded its video recording of the meeting here.