Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shovel Ready: Yes, We Are

When the economy went south last fall many people started asking how a prolonged recession would affect our campaign to construct a new building and expand our programs to serve more people. Would we need to postpone construction, scale back our plans, or maybe even rethink the entire campaign? We had found ourselves in a whole new world and I, along with most everyone else, was wishing for an economic crystal ball that could foretell our financial future. At a minimum, I wish I would have paid more attention in the economics classes I took at the University of Minnesota.


Although I’m not an economist, and certainly not a soothsayer, I am fortunate to have a smattering of common sense that perhaps could translate to the economic turmoil. Practicality suggested that if markets were down and unemployment rates up, that we were going to need to grow ourselves out of this recession. Seemingly overnight, the impact our building project could have in the community became even greater than we had imagined.


Not only will our campaign give us the physical space we need to expand our programs to serve more clients throughout the metro area, and help to revitalize the Phillips neighborhood, now we can also play a small part in helping to get Americans back to work. Our Kitchen Campaign: Building the Future of Open Arms has become a micro economic stimulus project.


We still need to raise $2.4 million to complete our $8.1 million campaign, but we are moving forward. After all, we had a “shovel ready” project in the works long before we started learning about the critical importance of “shovel ready” projects to the economic stimulus package.


Open Arms’ capital campaign has kept project managers, architects, and kitchen designers busy for months. Soon, we hope to keep a general contractor, sub-contractors, and numerous vendors employed. Is our construction project at 25th and Bloomington going to end the recession? Of course not. Is it going to provide work for many more people at a very critical time for our economy? Absolutely.


Our “shovel ready” project is one more example of how the added value of Open Arms’ work will just continue to grow and grow.

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