NAPPANEE -- After two years of lining up, the dominoes could start tumbling in Nappanee this fall.
Under a plan called Vision 2020, the Boys & Girls Club will leave its current location and build a new facility on the grounds near Nappanee Elementary School, where a soccer field now stands. That will leave space for two nonprofit community organizations, Family Christian Development Center and Elder Haus, to move in and expand in the club's old space. But first, a new soccer field has to be developed at Wellfield Park for the school to use.
"It's like a domino effect. Before one thing can happen, another thing has to occur," said Nappanee Mayor Phil Jenkins. "It's why we knew we needed to work together."
The capital campaign goal for the project is $5.75 million, Jenkins said. The vast majority of that will be allocated towards the building of a new Boys & Girls Club. Funding is expected to be raised through private donations, which is the current phase of the project, with several months to a year to go before fundraising is completed.
Jenkins noted the coordination between the city, the Wa-Nee School District, Wakarusa, the Boys & Girls Club and the other two organizations started about two years ago after they realized the projects they were working on separately and the wish lists they made independently were actually related. Planners decided it made sense to pool their fundraising efforts in addition to coordinating the timing of their activities.
"Each of them were doing their own planning, but then they got together and said 'What if we do this together?'" said Kevin McDeary, president of the Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart County. "I've neer seen this kind of collaboration in 33 years."
Jenkins summed up the purpose of the Vision 2020 initiative: "The key phrase for the project is 'One Vision, One Community, One Campaign,'" Jenkins said. "The goal is to improve human services from our youngest to oldest residents through more efficient and effective facilities."