The president of new Rutland Park Society board says the existing Rutland Centennial Hall will not be rebuilt.
Ross Kulak says while the former interim board of the RPS made the decision, it is one supported by the new board.
“I think it’s the smart move,” said Kulak Tuesday, adding a rebuild would cost between $4 million and $6 million, money the society does not have, and would have a great difficulty raising.
Instead, he said the society plans to start soon on renovations to the aging hall, using a federal grant of $270,000.
The previous (full) board of the RPS—of which Kulak was not a member—hired a consultant to look at the pros and cons of rebuilding or renovating. An open house was held to reveal details of the the consultant’s findings but no recommendation was made.
Kulak said he believed the only proponents of rebuilding are members of the former board.
“And they’re not here anymore,” he said.
All former board members, except then–president Todd Sanderson and director Wendi Swarbrick, quit en masse earlier this year during the first of what turned out to be several raucous RPS membership meetings.
With only Sanderson and Swarbrick, left on the the board, and the two waging a very public power struggle, the society was left severely divided.
Sanderson, facing growing pressure, eventually quit, leaving Swarbrick as the lone board member. An interim board was elected to carry the society through to the the RPS annual general meeting two weeks ago, where the new board members and Kulak, were elected.
The media was not alowed to attend the AGM.
The new board is made up of Kulak, vice-president Dawn Theissen, treasurer Wendi Swarbrick, secretary David Buckna, and directors Bob Dhanwant, Traci Savel, Suhkdev Goraya, Steve Swarbrick and Chase Jestley.
Kulak said the society has seen a great influx of members and support from the community in recent months and he is looking forward to moving the society beyond the very public squabbles and infighting that occurred earlier this year.
On Tuesday he said he wants to try and unite what had become a very fractured group.
“We will hold a public meeting soon that I will chair it,” he said, adding that meeting will show respect for the chair and respect for the members.
Recent RPS meetings, chaired by Wendi Swarbrick, have unruly affairs where shouting, insults and a total lack of decorum ensued.
Along with introducing the new board this week, the society has also launched a new website, rutlandparksociety.com, which it says will feature updates on coming events, the Community Market, the hall itself and plans for the 58th annual May Days celebration, planned for 2017.