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United Way seeking new facility to call home

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Prefers to remain in Elizabethtown

By Marty Finley

 

United Way of Central Kentucky continues to expand its financial presence and its physical presence in Hardin County needs to follow suit, said Executive Director Christopher Wilborn.

The agency is searching for a larger space as it outgrows its modest storefront offices in Lakeshore Plaza on Dixie Avenue. Wilborn said the location has been perfect but is too small to accommodate the growing organization, which has tripled the size of its team, added another county to its service area and led two record-breaking fundraising campaigns since 2010.

United Way desires 1,800 to 2,000 square feet as an ideal building size, though a larger building, if available, would be welcomed. It prefers relocating to a centralized and highly visible facility in Elizabethtown because the majority of its customers and donors are here.

“It makes sense,” Wilborn said. “This is the hub of the region.”

The agency needs accessible parking large enough to serve six full-time staff and 30 to 40 visitors, such as board members or volunteers, and the storage space to stock financial documents, agency files and campaign materials, such as pledge forms, brochures and posters.

Additionally, a conference/training room for staff and volunteers large enough to accommodate around 30 people and four or more private offices with a larger office that could be divided for multiple uses are being targeted by United Way, he said.

The new quarters need a minimum of two restrooms, at least one of which is handicap accessible, and a reception area where staff can greet customers and other visitors, according to the agency. A building with kitchen facilities is desired, too, which could include a refrigerator, coffee maker and a designated space to eat lunch.

Ideally, finding a facility as close to its top 10 list as possible is desirable, but Wilborn said United Way stretches each dollar as far as it can.

“What we want is what we need, and we want nothing more than what we need,” he said.

A capital campaign to raise money for a new facility has not been discussed, Wilborn said. Instead, United Way hopes to find a generous property owner who would gift a facility as a contribution to the community.

If a building needs work, he said, the agency would review the location and explore its options. It may even call on Project United, a volunteerism effort, to complete the work. United Way has hosted the effort in recent years as a competition between local companies, renovating Panther Place and the Community Health Clinic of Hardin & LaRue County. The next 10 years of United Way’s existence are critical and a new building will play a large role in its mission, he said.

The next few months is the perfect time for a move, Wilborn noted, but the agency will not rush the process.

“We want to move forward as expeditiously as possible, but we want to be able to assess our options,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.