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Blue Fire Update: Insurance Claims and Affordable Housing

Tue, Sep 5, 2017

Earlier this summer the Blue Sky Team and Fire Recovery Committee assigned several of their respective members to a joint subcommittee known as the Building Design (or “Blue Fire”) Committee, and charged this new group with the task of developing a conceptual design for Pilgrim Hall for consideration by the Congregation.

The Blue Fire Committee had originally planned to present a design proposal to the Congregation in early fall, but that was contingent on knowing roughly how much money will be available for the rebuild. Most of the funds will come from the church’s insurance claim, and the claim process is taking longer than anticipated, so we don’t yet have an estimate of funds available.

The Fire Recovery Committee is gathering additional information and consulting with an attorney who has specialized expertise in complex claims such as ours. These additional measures will add time to the claims process, but they are necessary to ensure that the church collects all the benefits it is entitled to receive.

Final settlement of our claim is probably several months away, but the Blue Fire Committee is working in the interim on general design issues. When a reliable estimate of the funding is available, they will be able to complete their work efficiently. They will then present to the Congregation a conceptual design for Pilgrim Hall that is financially feasible and meets the programmatic goals and values articulated through the Blue Sky Visioning process.

Members of the Blue Fire Committee are also gathering information about a possible affordable housing project in the northwest quadrant of the church campus in collaboration with a non-profit housing developer—an idea that emerged from the Blue Sky Visioning process. With the help of a local non-profit housing agency, they are exploring how a collaborative development project might work for the church, including financial details. 

Among other benefits, an affordable housing development would provide a new source of income to the church. If needed, this revenue could be used to help offset a shortfall in funding for the Pilgrim Hall rebuild. The Blue Fire Committee will present their findings to the Congregation in early fall.

Blue Fire Chair Scott Sporte is available to respond to questions about the Pilgrim Hall design process and the affordable housing concept.