An artist’s rendering of the new 3,000-sq.-ft. Oldsmar Cares headquarters, which is expected to cost roughly $300,000 and be completed in December 2017. (Graphic courtesy David Wallace and Associates.)
When representatives for the local nonprofit Oldsmar Cares presented their expansion plans to the Oldsmar City Council in November, the big news was the new 3,000-sq.-ft. headquarters that would be built at the organizations current home on SR 580 near City Hall.
But lost amid the hubbub about the new building, which is estimated to cost between $250,000-$300,000 and will be covered by donations and fundraisers, was the long-term-commitment aspect of the deal.
Longtime Oldsmar Cares board member David Wallace at the 2017 Wine and Food Gala.
Late last month, all five council members signed off on a 40-year lease agreement with Oldsmar Cares, paving the way for the construction of the new facility and ensuring the nonprofit, which offers a variety of goods and services to the area’s less fortunate, should remain in the city for a long time to come.
“I cannot believe we just signed our new lease as we’re about to celebrate our 20th anniversary,” longtime OC board member Davis Wallace said after the council’s vote on March 21.
“It’s a dream come true for us.”
Wallace’s dream, which started in the back of Oldsmar’s Methodist Church in 1996 before they relocated to the tiny old cottage near downtown, is without question a beneficial arrangement for the organization, which is 100 percent volunteer based.
According to the terms, Oldsmar Cares will pay $10 per year in rent for 40 years, with the building and the property falling back to the possession of the city should the nonprofit fold or fail to honor the agreement.
The arrangement could be considered somewhat risky for the city, a point that was brought up by several council members, including Mayor Doug Bevis.
Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.
“Is there any limit on activities they can do?” Bevis asked City Attorney Tom Trask during the discussion of the item.
“I know over the years they have continued to grow Oldsmar Cares and what it provides, and I’m stretching way out on a limb, but they couldn’t start selling medical marijuana out of there as one of their activities, or something that’s obviously a non-conforming use?”
Trask replied that “any legal activity they are allowed to do.”
Bevis added he didn’t believe representatives of the charity would use the new building as a hub of illicit activity, he said he was just being cautions and looking out for the city’s future.
“I just wanted to ask because you’re fortunate enough to have a great board and volunteers now, but that’s not always the case,” Bevis said.
“And I don’t believe I’m gonna be here for the renewal of the 40-year lease, I can tell you that!”
Oldsmar Cares board members pose at the nonprofit’s 7th annual Wine and Food Gala on Feb. 9, 2017.
After the meeting, Wallace said they are moving full-speed ahead with the construction plans, thanks to contributions from several generous donors and their fundraising efforts, including February’s hugely successful Wine and Food Gala.
“We’re moving forward,” Wallace said.
“We’ve already hired an excellent local firm, Bollenback Builders, to do the project for us, and our goal is to be in the building before December.”