Council: REEF project dead
The Zene Street recreational, educational, entertainment and family center, or REEF, is slated to end following the loss of a $700,000 grant.
Henderson City Council members have acknowledged a report by the Henderson-Vance Downtown Development Commission stating that REEF is no longer a viable project and the Zene Street property should be sold.
Earlier this month, the Golden LEAF Foundation gave notice the REEF plan did not present enough promise of providing the required goal of 70 or more full-time jobs if given the funds to move forward.
“What the DDC is looking to do is sell the property,” said Erris Dunston, the Henderson planning director. “This is a very unfortunate situation. They have not defined terms of sale yet.”
A charitable development group, Religious, Educational-and-charitable, Development projects, Inc., or RED, had partnered with the DDC on moving the project forward after the Henderson Collegiate charter school withdrew from plans in the REEF project.
The Second District RED Inc., guided the focus of giving the project a second chance toward their REEF-B concept. RED wants to hold on to the initiative in making a possible bid.
Dunston said the local district of RED made a request to the DDC to allow them a “first right of refusal” regarding the sale of the property. Dunston said she was unsure what RED might do with the property.
The RED/DDC partnership was not official, not a signed partnership, according to Dunston, but the DDC may honor the request and allow RED to make the first move on a purchase.
“That’s what they asked for,” Dunston said. “They would have the first right to offer a price. The DDC does not have to accept it, however. They are not locked in to a price. We don’t know what the future for the property is at this point.”
The local RED board will meet in November to discuss options.
Dunston said when DDC board members determined the REEF project was not going to be possible in light of the funding problem, the board directed one of their committees to prepare needed documents and approach a realtor to market the property.
Dan Gerlach, the president of Golden LEAF, wrote a brief letter earlier this month letting the DDC know of the foundation’s decline of an extension request.
Gerlach in May told a gathering of about 30 government and civic organization leaders that his board needed solid evidence of likely results, namely progress toward meeting the overall goal for 70 or more full-time job start-ups because of the Zene Street development.
The Golden LEAF board met in June as part of their decision on REEF and other grant-funding matters.
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