Civic Center faces critical challenges


Danna Webster, KP News

The Key Peninsula Civic Center Association (KPCCA) has been hard hit. Rising costs and executive officer vacancies challenge the association’s ability to keep the Civic Center doors open for community use.

The Civic Center is a historical treasure. In years gone by, 1922 through 1947, the Civic Center building was Vaughn Union High School. It was from this site, in 1912, that Vaughn High School student, Bertha Davidson, was informed that a motorized vehicle would drive down the country roads of the peninsula.

“We might all stand inside the school fence and watch it but under no circumstance should we step outside…We saw it; what a marvelous sight, no horses, moving along the road at a terrific speed, a horseless carriage, a Ford,” Davidson wrote in Parade of the Pioneers.

The use and functions of the Civic Center are governed by KPCCA, a 30-member board. Their purpose is to serve the public and promote the welfare of the citizens in the Key Pen community.

Today the Civic Center houses the Key Peninsula Family Resource Center, the Key Peninsula Historical Society Museum, Two Waters Arts Alliance, Friday Skate Nights, Indoor Park, the outreach program of Comprehensive Mental Health, the WIC (Women, Infants, Children) Nutrition Program, the Senior Society, the Key Peninsula News office, several church programs, Boy Scout troops, and other groups, programs, classes and community events.

It is the rising cost of insurance that threatens the financial stability of the association. The cost has skyrocketed to more than $24,000 a year, nearly a fifth of the annual budget.“Our insurance costs have gone up 150 percent,” says Sylvia Haase of the KPCCA executive board, “four years ago we paid $10,000.”

According to Haase, the costs to fix up the building in past years were covered by grants. There were grants for the roof, grants to paint the outside and the inside, grants for new windows, “but there are no grants to pay for insurance,” she says.

Adding to the financial crisis are the decline in active association board membership and the vacancies on the executive officers’ committee. Haase is working on the nomination committee which is struggling to find people willing to take on the tasks of the executive committee and wrestle with the critical problems facing the association. They need to fill a 30 member Board, elect new executive officers, keep the integrity of the building as an historical treasure, honor the mission statement’s pledge to kids, and find a way to pay for the insurance at $500 a week.

“We need new ideas, new people to do the work…What we are facing right now is a real turning point, whether or not we move into the 21st century,” Haase says.

Edie Morgan contributed to this story.