“The sanctuary is built” - Koan 4, Book of Serenity, “The world honored one points to the ground.”
Deep Bows and Greetings Red Cedar Zen Sangha Members-
Almost two years ago, we “jumped off the hundred-foot flagpole,” and left our home on Forest Street. We now have come to the place where we will plant our blade of grass. On August 15, we will close the purchase of 2509 Cedarwood as the new home of the Red Cedar Zen Community.
On July 7, nearly 20 sangha members inspected the building. If you weren’t able to join us, you can get a sense of the inside and outside here: https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/2509-Cedarwood-Ave-Bellingham-WA/25754442/
Our agent, Mike Parry, then began a negotiation with the owner to hopefully secure better terms, based on the inspection report. This 40+ year-old structure called for some critical repairs due to deferred maintenance. Of chief concern was the condition of the flat roof, in conjunction with the need to replace one of the two roof-mounted HVAC systems nearing the end of its life span (the other was replaced 2 years ago). The estimate for bringing both systems up to current standards for long-term structural integrity, health, and comfort was about $50,000. Mike did a masterful job of presenting these findings (and costs) to the owner with whom we will have a long-term relationship (since he is financing our purchase).
These negotiations resulted in two excellent outcomes: our final purchase price was reduced by $25,000 to $775,000 and our down payment amount was raised from 15% to 20%, resulting in a lower monthly payment schedule than originally agreed to. In addition, the current tenant in the east wing of the building will continue his lease. The net result, with many details yet to be resolved, will generate an income stream that will pay a good part of our monthly obligation. We are also in early discussion with Bellingham Insight Meditation Society (BIMS) about re-establishing their paid use of the dharma hall on a regular schedule. Since one of our fundamental goals in this home-seeking journey was to not burden younger and future sangha members with an unsupportable mortgage obligation, this is all very good news.
It also appears we will more than meet the city’s parking requirements with a recorded reciprocal use agreement with the neighboring property.
The board has appointed a “Design Advisory Committee” to evaluate the best ways to re-organize and use this new gathering place and to meet all health and safety standards while creating as welcoming and aesthetic space as possible (inside and out). The committee will provide the board with choices for alterative spatial arrangements, timing of improvements, and estimated costs. The design group will include sangha members Heidi Epstein, Robin Kucklick, Bob Penny, Richard Eggemeyer, and Bob Rose, with Shudo Chris Burkhart and Nomon Tim Burnett providing practice perspective.
Over the next weeks, the committee will create a schedule with multiple opportunities and ways for sangha members to provide input and ideas as we begin to imagine this new home. In the meantime, please contact me or other board members with ideas and concerns.
Joden Bob Rose, RCZC Board President