Update from the SCORE Committee
Your generous practice of dana paramita has given RCZC's search for a practice home a breath of life. We will be able to make a down payment exceeding $500,000 when a suitable property is found. Your SCORE committee (Bob Rose, Richard Eggemeyer, Nomon Tim, and Mary Durbrow) with Bob Penny's help with construction and design feasibility continues to browse the commercial and residential listings daily and physically visit anything that meets our criteria of:
- 2000-3000 ft sq
- Bellingham city limits, preferably downtown core
- Accessible by multiple modes of transportation
- ADA accessible
- Walking distance to amenities like coffee shop and greenspace
- Manageable mortgage for sangha now and in the future
To date we have toured ten properties - none so far has been suitable. Our exploration has revealed that this is a fast-growing real estate market, and according to a real estate broker we are working with, we are competing with buyers from all over the world who are making cash offers on residential and commercial properties, sometimes sight unseen. The Bellingham market feels very expensive to us locals, but investors from other cities see Bellingham as a bargain.
We are ready to take the leap off the 100-foot pole if the right property presents itself, thanks to funds that are now available and which will make a handsome down payment. We are meeting with lending institutions this week to prequalify for a loan, a step that will help us move more quickly when the time comes to present an offer.
As no suitable property has presented itself in the past year, we are beginning to consider another alternative such as investing the sangha treasure in an interim property with a positive rental income stream, whose value will grow with the market, and whose positive income stream will make the mortgage payments for us. If we find a desirable property that meets these new criteria, we could remodel and move in in two years, or resell. Meanwhile, we will meet at BUF, as planned, and as Congregation Beth Israel did, while their new synagogue was being built. Our initial investment will have grown at the current real estate growth rate of 15%, far beyond what it would earn in a money market or savings account. Not investing the money we have, whether in a permanent or interim property, will leave us farther behind as the market continues to grow.
This requires great patience paramita practice on all our parts, dear sangha. It seems fair to say that whatever we do, it could be two years or more before we settle into our new home. Even if we found the perfect property tomorrow, we will need to go through a conditional use permitting process, design and permitting for a remodel, then the actual remodel. That alone can take two years.
We are so fortunate that BUF has welcomed us to their beautiful practice hall for as long as we need to be there, at a very fair price. Let's all take a couple of deep breaths, one in gratitude for BUF and the sangha's generosity and another to help us practice patience with so much uncertainty.
Your SCORE team will continue to work relentlessly until our beloved sangha is settled together once again.
On behalf of the SCORE team
Buddhist Folk Painting, Free to a Good Home
Dear Red Cedar Zen Community Folks,
Happy New Year of the Water Tiger!
Two years after moving into a new (for us) home in Bellingham, my wife and I have decided that we do not have a suitable spot to hang a large Korean folk painting which we brought home with us after living several decades in Seoul. Measuring 51" wide and 41" high, the painting features an array of prominent Buddhist, Confucian and other personages from various Asian spiritual traditions. It was acquired by a fellow former Peace Corps volunteer in Korea in the 1970s, and handed down to us.
Our Asian art connection cannot accept it, and we do not want to cast the fate of this special work to the fickle winds of E-Bay or Craig's List. We wonder, however, whether Red Cedar, or anyone associated with your Center, might have an interest in, or a place for, this painting. We would be delighted just to know that it has found an appreciative new home.
Thank you for considering, and best wishes for a healthy, happy, and safe 2022!
Ken Kaliher and Mary-Lee Mooney
430 S. Garden St., Bellingham, WA 98225-6117
If a problem can be solved, why be unhappy?
And if it cannot be solved, what is the use of being unhappy?
- The Abbott, in Khyentse Norbu’s 1999 film, "The Cup"
Board Forms New Financial Future Committee
As you all know, we are entering into new financial territory and some uncertainty as we prepare to purchase a future home for the sangha. Our finances have remained quite stable and predictable for a very long time. Right now we have a robust financial position. But as the Board of Directors bears fiduciary responsibility for RCZC we need to assure we keep it as such.
So, we are inviting 2-3 sangha members to look into the future with a couple of board members (John and Mary for now). Some data we might look at would be: How is the gain/loss of members trending? How do our membership dues and registration fees compare with other sangha's our size? What new income streams can we imagine, given our limited human resources? How can we keep our fees low and be financially sustainable in the future? What grants are out there that might be a good fit? What ideas do YOU have?
This will be an ad hoc committee, hopefully winding up with a report with recommendations to the Board in a few months, maybe in time for the Annual meeting with Board and Sangha in April.
If this sounds interesting to you, please contact Mary (firstname.lastname@example.org) or John (Johnmw47@gmail.com).
John and Mary