Skydragon in the Spec
Sorry Spectator I owe you one! I recently stated the spec didn’t do a article about the SkyDraon’s situation I am worng here it is http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/738785
Great article btw
The Hamilton Spectator
(Mar 17, 2010)
The Sky Dragon Centre downtown is struggling to survive after learning its mortgage won’t be renewed.
The mortgage decision has compounded an already shaky financial existence at the centre — a worker co-operative supporting nonprofit businesses and groups promoting environmental and economical sustainability, fair trade and social justice.
Centre director Kevin MacKay alerted supporters on the weekend that, despite never missing a payment, the Teachers Credit Union won’t renew Sky Dragon’s first mortgage of $187,000 on its downtown building at 27 King William St.
“We haven’t been meeting our debt-to-income ratio, which was part of our deal,” MacKay told The Spectator. The ratio is $1.25 in income for every $1 in debt, he said.
The Centre hasn’t met the ratio since taking out the mortgage in 2006, so MacKay and Sky Dragon users are perplexed at the credit union’s actions now.
Credit union officials declined to comment. “This remains a private matter between us and Sky Dragon,” said Tom Wilson, director of commercial services.
MacKay notes the credit union was the only institution willing to loan the co-op a mortgage, adding “while we’re unhappy with the financing being pulled, we’ve also got to give them credit for taking a chance on us in the beginning and helping us get started.”
It’s now time for the community to step in if it wants to keep Sky Dragon going, he said. A meeting on Sunday attracted 75 supporters and a larger public meeting is planned. Sky Dragon has until April 18 to refinance and is considering new strategies, including fundraising, to wipe out $270,000 in debt, a total that includes the mortgage, a $25,000 line of credit and other debts.
A second mortgage of $133,000 from a private lender is unaffected.
Laurel Harrison of the Hamilton Area Eco-Network said Sky Dragon is more than just a co-op — it’s a gathering and welcoming place for those interested in improving the city. The centre is “trying to keep the heart of Hamilton alive. … It is interested in civic engagement and the life of the community.”
Sky Dragon is helping revive a rundown area with “a vibrant place to become engaged in peace, environmental action and civic engagement,” she said. If it closes, “it’s another nail in the coffin in the decay of the city. … We lose a place that worked so hard to bring some life in the city in an area badly in need of it.”
Sky Dragon is used as a community centre, renting space to groups and offering social and environmental workshops, films and speakers. It hosts an organic farmers’ market every Saturday and sells fair trade coffee from its roaster. Its Bread and Roses Cafe is an eatery using local produce and foods.
Community activist Maggie Hughes said Sky Dragon acts as the heart of the city’s creative-minded people and is full of artists and musicians. “Losing it rips the creative soul out of the heart of Hamilton,” she said.
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