The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce held a ground breaking ceremony for its new building June 12 at the original site on Pine Island Road.
Steve Timcak, the president of the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, began the ground breaking ceremony by telling those in attendance that June 12 was a new beginning after the tragic loss of their building to arson.
The fire, which took place Jan. 13, 2012, destroyed the original building built in 1967.
"I'd like to take a moment to talk about volunteerism," he said during the ceremony. "This ceremony would not be taking place if it were not for volunteerism, an attribute this island takes great pride in. Our thanks go out to all who have donated their time, materials and monetary contributions, but as with any building project, financial setbacks abound. Ours is no exception. Recently enacted building codes are putting a strain on an already tight budget. So please keep us in mind if you feel you can help further our cause in any way."
Building Committee Chairman Pat Hutchinson said the chamber just received its vegetation permit, which allows them to remove the exotic plants on the property.
"Our contractor, Ron Marra of Marra Construction, is awaiting some final engineering plans from the HVAC; roof truss and precast flooring subcontractors in order to finalize plans with our engineer, Jim Schivinski of Engineering and Design," she said. "Once Jim has accepted those plans, we will submit permits and begin construction."
Timcak said with Schivinski and Marra, as well as the committee's input, the chamber is about to construct a green and energy efficient building that will be a gateway to the island communities everyone will be proud of for many years to come.
"We did go back to the drawing board in terms of design to take advantage of some impressive donations secured by Ron Marra," Hutchinson said. "These donations significantly improved the green aspects of this project and will result in an energy efficient, attractive gateway to our island."
The construction of the new chamber building will begin sometime in July once the permit is issued.
"Ron estimates a three-month completion, but, that is very dependent upon the weather," Hutchinson said. "We anticipate hosting an After Hours Card Exchange in October at the new building."
The new chamber building is an open air plan, which has a see-through building concept.
"This provides a vista with an air of spaciousness as this is a small building," she said. "The airy feeling is accentuated with high, vaulted ceilings and a cupola with celestary windows for natural light."
Once individuals enter the chamber building, they will be welcomed by the Welcome Center Director Jennifer Jennings, as well as her ambassadors, who will engage them from an information command center.
"This will be one-stop shopping for information about the island and our member businesses," Hutchinson said.
In looking forward, there are plans to capitalize upon the beauty of the property with gardens and quiet spaces for individuals to read the information they picked up from the Welcome Center.