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District 128 Officials Vote to Extend Brainerd Lease

Faced with fundraising challenges, Brainerd Community Center, Inc. asks for an extension on lease payment.

High School District 128 school board voted unanimously to adjust the lease for a group trying to convert the Brainerd high school building into a community center at Monday's board meeting.

According to the current lease agreement, Brainerd Community Center, Inc., the group trying to turn the building into a community center, is supposed to make a balloon payment of $250,000 this year. After the school board’s vote, that payment has been pushed back to 2014. Members of the group cite fundraising troubles as the reason for delaying the balloon payment.

Currently, the school district owns the building and has leased it to the village, who in turn sub-leased it to the group trying to save the building.

Brainerd Community Center President Jim Moran spoke to the school board at Monday’s meeting, and said the village board wants to extend their lease, also.

Mike Kollman, an architect working with the Brainerd preservation group, and Chairman of Libertyville’s Historic Preservation Committee, said he is very familiar with the building and it has many possibilities and opportunities.

“It’s a green building because it was built to last,” he said. “This building has cultural sustainability. People have great memories of this place. There’s a new momentum and a new passion for the building.”

The group has possible tenants who are interested in the building, including musical theatre and dance groups and civic groups. Kollman believes user fees would pay for the  maintenance and operation of the building.

J.B.L. March 05, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Anyone interested in learning more about the efforts to save Brainerd can check out the Web site at www.savebrainerd.org. There you can download the group's monthly newsletter and see what you can do to help preserve this community treasure.

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