Partners In Prime president Stephen Schnabl greets a community member at the grand opening of the West Chester Activity Center Nov. 1, 2010. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
The West Chester Board of Trustees approved contributions this week to help fund the West Chester Activity Center and the The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting.
The Trustees agreed to contribute $75,000 in 2013 to Partners in Prime, an organization that operates the West Chester Activity Center.
The West Chester Activity Center, which opened in the fall of 2010 in the building off Cox Road that used to be the home to the West Chester Library, serves as a club for seniors and also includes a fitness facility, an electronic gaming room, study space for teens, meeting space and room rentals.
Partners In Prime president Stephen Schnabl told the trustees during its meeting Tuesday night that the Activity Center is projected to have a shortfall in 2013. Schnabl said that the estimated expenses in 2013 are $401,888, while the projected revenue is $316,000.
The $75,000 is part of a descending contribution schedule created by the township. Between 2008-2011, the township contributed $100,000 to Partners in Prime each year. In 2012, the amount went down to $85,000.
“If Partners in Prime had not stepped forward and done this (taken over the old library building) – this facility would probably be a bigger burden to the tax payers than the dollar amount we are contributing,” trustee George Lang said.
Clyde Haehnle, who is also on the board of directors, provides a tour of VOA Museum. He was a project engineer at the Voice of America Bethany Relay Station and was involved with the project when it was built in 1944 under the direction of Powell Crosley Jr. Photo taken by Tony Jones.
According to the planned descending contribution scale, the amount given to Partners in Prime will decrease to $65,000 in 2014, to $50,000 in 2015, to $40,000 in 2016, $30,000 in 2017 and $25,000 in 2018 and in subsequent years if the township’s budget permits.
Since 2001, the township has contributed $1,120,250 to Partners in Prime.
The trustees also agreed to contribute $85,000 to the board of the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting. Earlier this month, the trustees officially agreed to enter into a five-year lease with the museum board. The lease agreement put the museum board in charge of maintaining the landmark off Tylersville Road and allowed them to raise funds as a non-profit corporation.
Currently, the museum is open for a few hours for tours on the third Saturday of each month. In order to open on a full-time basis and become a revenue-generating landmark, the museum board must raise approximately $12 million in funds.
If and when the fundraising is completed, it is expected to attract 25,000 visitors, bring in $475,000 in out of area direct spending and provide an overall economic impact in excess of $1.7 million annually, according to estimates by museum design firm Jack Rouse Associates.
Contributions to the museum board, like to Partners in Prime, decline over time. The declining schedule includes contributions of $75,000 in 2014, $75,000 in 2015, $50,000 in 2016 and $50,000 in 2017.
“Development on the site will return millions of dollars to the tax payers in a variety of different ways,” trustee Catherine Stoker said. “I think this is a modest return to ensure we can meet our commitment that we made when we received all of this acreage and help secure the future of the Voice of America Museum.”
Scheduled contributions to both Partners in Prime and to the board of Voice of America Museum will be reviewed annually by the board of trustees.
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