Oldsmar Cares plans major expansion, long-term committment

Officials for Oldsmar Cares, a nonprofit that provides food, clothing and other services for those in need, plan to construct a new 3,000-sq. ft. facility on SR 580 and also sign a 40-year lease to remain in the city.

Oldsmar Cares

Oldsmar Cares, a local nonprofit that provides food, clothing and other services to those in need, plans to construct a new 3,000-sq. ft. facility adjacent to its current location at 163 SR 580.

Officials for Oldsmar Cares, a local nonprofit that provides food, clothing and other services to those in need, plan to construct a new 3,000-sq. ft. facility at its current location on SR 580 while signing a long-term lease to remain in the city.

The conceptual plans for the expansion were presented to the Oldsmar City Council on Tuesday, November 16 for approval.

Longtime Oldsmar Cares board member David Wallace speaks before the Oldsmar City Council on April 19, 2016.

Oldsmar Cares’ David Wallace speaks before the Oldsmar City Council on April 19.

During the meeting, David Wallace, one of Oldsmar Cares’ original board members who currently serves as volunteer coordinator and pantry manager, outlined the organization’s plans.

“This is a plan that has come up in the last year, and it’s been worked on and reviewed and revised and continues to be worked on,” Wallace said.

“The idea is for us to have our own home that we can enjoy and we can better serve the public that we serve.”

Wallace then showed details of the plans, which call for a new multi-use facility that will serve to streamline the entire Oldsmar Cares operation, allowing the staff of unpaid volunteers to administer all their services, comfortably, under one roof.

“Right now, when we get 16 or 17 people in our little lobby, it is havoc,” Wallace said, noting the nonprofit helped more than 4,000 residents last year.

Wallace explained that the new building would be constructed on the same lot at 163 SR 580 as the current facility, but right alongside the road as opposed to its current setback location.

An artist's rendering of the new 3,000 square foot home Oldsmar Cares hopes to build adjacent to its current headquarters on SR 580.

An artist’s rendering of the new 3,000 square foot home Oldsmar Cares hopes to build adjacent to its current headquarters on SR 580.

He also said a large percentage of the estimated $300,000 cost was going to be covered by a yet-to-be-named benefactor.

“We have a benefactor, a foundation, that has assured us they’re going to give us about between 60 and 65 percent of the cost of this building,” Wallace said. “So while we’ve got a lot of money to raise, we feel like it’s doable for us.”

Following Wallace’s presentation, he and fellow Oldsmar Cares board member Brenda Gaulin fielded questions from council about the proposal.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Mayor Doug Bevis said he wanted to make sure the organization will keep donations separate.

“The fundraising, is it going to be separate from your normal fundraising?” Bevis asked. “I mean, the fundraising that you do for the facility is going to be clearly identified as fundraising for the city and not the money from the wine gala?”

Gaulin assured the council that would be the case.

“Part of the agreement with the foundation that’s going to be matching our fundraising dollars is that we do have all that money separate,” Gaulin said.

“We plan on designating some sponsorships that will go to our operating costs,” she added, citing a brick paver fundraiser as well as a reveal gala, “but it will be clear, and those will be additional sponsors that we add.”

Oldsmar City Council member Jerry Beverland.

Oldsmar City Council member Jerry Beverland.

While praising Oldsmar Cares for its two-decades of service to the city, former mayor and longtime council member Jerry Beverland said he had two requests of its leadership moving forward.

“I would ask that two things happen,” Beverland began. “That you always carry the name, Oldsmar Cares…and I know someday you might have to have a paid director, but if you do, you come discuss that with the City Council.”

Wallace was quick to respond.

“If you look at that building, you’ll see in large letters…the word Oldsmar Cares,” he said while pointing to a conceptual drawing. “And that’s very important. This foundation, I made it very clear when we first met, that Oldsmar Cares is Oldsmar Cares. Now, we’re certainly going to recognize them in many ways, but I can tell you that it’s not going to be the David Wallace or the Bruce Haddock Oldsmar Cares building. It’s going to be the Oldsmar Cares, and that’s what it says. Because we do care. And we’re going to make sure we show it every day of the week, every possible way we can.”

Oldsmar Cares has outgrown its home on SR 580, according to officials.

Oldsmar Cares has outgrown its old home and will soon build a new $300,000, 3,000-sq. ft. facility on SR 580, according to officials of the nonprofit organization.

As to the potential of paying staff members in the future, Wallace was unequivocal.

“I will tell you this right now,” he said. “We will never have a paid employee being paid with Oldsmar Care funds as long as I’m there. Period.”

After reviewing some of the terms of the agreement, which include a 40-year lease, the donation by the city of the existing building to the organization and the removal of any financial responsibilities for the building on the part of the city, the council agreed to approve the conceptual plan by a vote of 4-0 (Council member Gabby McGee was absent from the meeting).

According to Wallace, they hope to break ground on the project in early April, with a tentative goal of opening the new facility next fall.

Following the meeting, the mayor spoke about the importance of the arrangement for the organization.

“I think the passion they have is great for the community,” Bevis told Oldsmar Connect.

“I don’t know what the agreement will look like, but the fact that the foundation will support 60-65 percent of the funding is huge. It gives them a sense a pride, as well as a permanent home here in Oldsmar.”

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