By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Shipley Center, formerly the Sequim Senior Activity Center, took the mortgage in 2002 to expand its current location and has paid it off early, said Michael Smith, executive director of the center.
Center volunteers and officials will burn a copy of the mortgage, keeping the real thing for records, in a ceremony from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the center, 921 E. Hammond St. Refreshments will be provided.
Donors gave the center $105,000 over the past year to pay off the debt before a balloon payment was due in 2014.
“It's really been a remarkable amount of support,” Smith said.
“It's amazing the amount of people who chipped in to help with this.”
Donations ranging from $5 to $50,000 came in from private individuals, Smith said.
The balance was displayed on a sign outside the center, with donors coming in to watch the number drop.
With the expansion loan paid off, the Shipley Center is now debt-free, Smith said.
That is important since the center is expecting to build a new $10.4 million building.
Land for the new center was purchased for $261,000.
Most of that was donated to the center by Leo Shipley, 86, for whom the center was named after he donated the 51-space Baywood Village mobile home park to the center earlier this year.
The center is an independent nonprofit that is funded “98½ percent” by private donations, membership dues and activity fees, Smith said.
Its annual budget is $385,000.
Annual membership is $40 for one person or $70 a couple.
Free memberships for low-income seniors — funded by grants from the city of Sequim, the Haller Foundation, the Halloran Foundation and others — are available.
For more information, phone 360-683-6806 or visit www.sequimseniorcenter.org.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.