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Fire hall rent slows Boys and Girls Club

It may take a bit longer than expected to establish a Boys and Girls Club in Coupeville.

The facility which project organizers have in mind is the old firehouse on Main Street in Coupeville. In order to obtain this building, a lease agreement must be met between the project organizers and the Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue commmissioners.

In a Fire Commissioners’ meeting on Aug 11, the proposed lease of $230 was rejected and then renegotiated up to $367 a month by the commissioners and their attorney.

In order to comply with their building permit as well as costs to maintain the facility, the rent was hiked.

The original cost proposed for the rent was $100 a month but then climbed to $230 and has finally rested on $367 a month on a five-year lease. Since the Boys and Girls Club must raise the money to pay the rent, the price is a bit hard to swallow.

Coupeville resident Sue Roundy heads the leadership group for the project.

“I don’t like the price that is on the table right now. Our contact with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish does not like the price either. It is just a lot of money for us to raise, especially since it does not include the price of the utilities for the building. We all really want this to work but the rent is holding us back,” Roundy said.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County is sponsoring the establishment of a club in Coupeville. The lease has to be approved by them as well due to legal liability.

According to Cheryl Engel, chair of the Central Whidbey Fire District board, the cost of the building rent is in direct relation to the auditor. In order to comply with state regulations regarding the use of public facilities. Because the building is paid for by taxpayers, the rent has to be high enough satisfy the state auditor.

“We all want the Boys and Girls Club to be able to rent the building, but we have make sure that we do it legally. We agonized over the decision but in order to satisfy the requirements brought out by the auditor, the rent is set at what would be acceptable to them,” Engel said.

Both the Central Whidbey Fire commissioners and the Boys and Girls Club of Coupeville leaders stated that they have to be responsible when it comes to managing the money for this endeavor.

If all works out, the Coupeville food bank, Gifts from the Heart will also benefit. By contributing to the rent of the firehouse, Gifts from the Heart will be allowed a percentage of the space in the firehouse for storage and operations. According to Molly Hughes, head of Gifts from the Heart, volunteers currently have to transfer their donated food from facility to facility.

A final decision on whether or not the Boys and Girls Club of Coupeville will be able to use the firehouse for their club location, is expected within the next few weeks.

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