SCNA President’s message: Closure of Sierra 2 could be devastating

$62,000 monthly rent loss possible

I am struck by the radical changes that have occurred in our lives in a mere 30 days.

Last month, my column touted upcoming SCNA events and encouraged increased neighborhood volunteerism. Now, I have to report the cancellation of the Egg Hunt and Home & Garden Tour for this year. Perhaps of greater importance and impact is the closure of the Sierra 2 Center until April 5 and likely longer. A skeleton staff will be in place in the interim.

The coronavirus has spread rapidly and has intruded into and affected almost every aspect of our lives. Aside from obvious and valid health concerns, the resultant health restrictions have had severe consequences on our economy, nationally and locally.

This was made abundantly clear with the closure of the Sierra 2 Center. It did not come as a complete surprise; Sierra 2 Executive Director Terri Shettle had already begun contingency planning. However, the rapidly changing landscape greatly accelerated the implementation of these plans, causing us to adapt and react on a nearly daily basis.

While the closure of the Sierra 2 Center is understandable, the resultant financial impact is devastating, affecting every aspect of our operations. In the days and weeks leading up to the closure, Sierra 2 Center staff was dealing with cancellations of theater bookings and other short-term rentals. Additionally, now that the center has closed, the rental income from resident tenants will cease. The center’s budgeted monthly rental income is $62,000, of which $16,000 is from residents and the remaining $46,000 from all other rentals.

Sierra 2 Center staff is rescheduling as many events as possible, but is operating in the dark as to when the center will reopen. Factor in the monthly payroll and other fixed expenses of at least $40,000, and it is easy to see that we are in uncharted and dangerous waters.

We are entering what is typically our most productive season. We have no idea how long it will be before this virus is brought under control. We are exploring various options to help get us through this uncertain period, but do not have enough cash on hand to cover our expenses. It is evident that we will have to draw upon our investment account, which was never intended for that purpose.

Now that the Home & Garden Tour has been canceled, there are only two fundraisers remaining, the Big Day of Giving in May and the Wine Tasting & Silent Auction in October. The Big Day of Giving may provide an opportunity for all of us to show our support for the Sierra 2 Center. I’ll have more to say about that later. And, by October we hope to be celebrating the end of this scourge.

In the meantime, don’t forget the folks on your street. Many streets have Neighborhood Watch programs or other structures in place for looking after one another and organizing block parties, etc. There are undoubtedly folks on your street that could use some assistance, so reach out to them. Remember, they are more than just “the people next door.” They are your neighbors.

(Note: The home tour has been rescheduled. Chairperson Lori Harder says, “Please put April 24, 2021 on your calendars now. I hope most or all of this year’s homeowners will roll it forward a year and we’ll be in good shape for a successful returning event.”)

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