Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Rasmuson gives $400K to HAL

 


A $400,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation will cover a chunk of the $2 million Haines Assisted Living needs for the Soboleff-McRae Veterans Village and Wellness Center, including finishing the first floor of the structure.

The foundation also has pledged up to another $100,000 in a match with locally-raised funds.

Foundation president Diane Kaplan said the donation made Nov. 26 will go to the first floor “wellness center,” planned as offices for local nonprofits. With times getting tough and federal spending on the wane, a spot for nonprofits that shares spaces and resources makes a lot of sense, Kaplan said, noting that the foundation is seeing similar proposals statewide.

Assuming the full $500,000 from Rasmuson, HAL president Jim Studley said he’s confident he can raise the additional $1.5 million needed to complete the building by the end of 2014. The Alaska Legislature approved $6.1 million toward a veterans’ home, and those funds went for the veterans’ residence portion of the project, Studley said this week.

“Everything upstairs will be finished with (legislative funds). We need more money to finish the downstairs portion,” he said.

The $2 million to be raised will be used for sound-proofing, electrical, ductwork, sheetrock and other work on the first floor, Studley said, as well as for paving the parking lot and sidewalks.

Dick Flegel, treasurer and board member of the HAL board, said the $6.1 million appropriation from the legislature was based on a “very rough” plan for the veterans’ home that didn’t take into account needs of ground-floor tenants. “That was a moving target, money-wise. It was a guess earlier. Now it’s becoming more of a reality.”

Special features for specific tenants – like extra walls and soundproofing – have driven up project costs, Flegel said. “As that stuff comes into focus, you can put a price tag on it. We’re trying to meet the needs of the tenants without being stuck with features that no one else wants if they vacate.”

A continuing fundraising effort launched in September was described as for exterior improvements, like sidewalks and parking lot paving.

Rasmuson’s Kaplan said she was confident HAL would be able to raise the remainder of the $2 million. Rasmuson officials met with veterans home officials in the fall. “We talked about some other potential (funding) sources for them. (Raising the money) is going to be hard work, but I think they have a good track record.”

Studley said he’s hoping to have the building’s upstairs apartments ready for tenants by summer, and have the downstairs ready for nonprofits to move in by 2015.

The Rasmuson Foundation donated $550,000 to the HAL residential home in 2008.