GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Glen Rock Council will vote on an ordinance granting a $238,000 loan for the construction of an environmental education center at the Thielke Arboretum on Jan. 27.
Friends of the Glen Rock Arboretum Inc., a nonprofit volunteer group, have already raised $400,000 to help build the structure.
"Building a center like this is the next logical step for the arboretum," said Thomas Scerbo, who is serving as co-chair of the environmental education center's project.
"It would give us a gathering place, an indoor work space for volunteers, and a place local teachers can use as a classroom outside of school."
The $238,000 interest-free bridge loan would be payable in annual installments of $34,000 over seven years, Scerbo said.
The 1,700-square-foot education center would feature a main meeting room, conference room, two restrooms and two, outdoor porches totaling 800 square feet.
The group has already raised enough money to pay back two years of the loan, and that building the education center will only help fundraising efforts, Scerbo said.
"We’ve raised $400,000 without even having a building," he said. "If we had a building it would only serve to accelerate fundraising.
"We think we will attract more dues paying members and attract younger people who can use the center for education purposes."
If the loan is approved by the council, Scerbo expects to break ground on the new education center in March with an expected completion date in the end of June.
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