February 2008 Looking back at 2007, Looking ahead to 2008,For full details, please see "A Productive Year" and"The Year Ahead" from the latest Noon Whistle newsletter.
2007 was a year of solid progress for the Knight Foundry project. At the beginning of the year, the City of Sutter Creek signed a purchase agreement with the foundry owners. The Knight Foundry Corporation non-profit and City worked together on three major grant applications in 2007:
• The California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) has reserved $870,750 in matching funding for acquisition and cleanup. • A grant application for $400,000 for environmental cleanup has been submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency • A grant application for $1,000,000 is currently under review by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to help fund clean up and acquisition.
Taken together these three grants, if awarded, can cover the greater part of the acquisition and cleanup costs.
From early 2007, The Knight Foundry Fundraising and Capital Campaign Committee (CCC) mounted numerous community events aimed at raising both public consciousness and money. The CCC has set a goal of raising $200,000 and kicked off its activities with a pledge campaign. The CCC developed a handsome informational booth which was set up at a press conference held at Knight Foundry, Black Bart Days, Italian Picnic Days, Jackson Heritage Days and the Amador County Fair. The highlight of the year’s activity was a formal dinner and auction held at the Jackson Rancheria. Attended by over 200 Knight Foundry supporters, the evening netted $27,740 in cash plus a generous $7400 donation of dinners and facilities from the Rancheria. The CCC has raised a total of $52,787 locally as of this date and is developing plans for 2008.
Project Work Accomplished During 2007
The problem which long balked progress toward acquisition was the soil and dust pollution which built up over many decades of foundry operation. The key was to determine the extent of the environmental problems actually present and how much they will cost to fix. The Knight Foundry Corporation secured a $50,000 matching grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to fund full studies and then go through the process of securing approval of an Remedial Action Workplan from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).
The Year Ahead
In 2008, the long-hoped-for takeover of the Knight Foundry for the public benefit will bring into play the largest element of our abundant human resources: our volunteer force. A massive volunteer effort will be needed to assist with renovation and cleanup - a quantum leap beyond anything we have attempted in the past.
Three construction projects related to environmental concerns will be launched, of which some part will depend very heavily on volunteer support. • In the foundry, the damaged back wall and the cupola furnaces will undergo extensive renovation. As this work will stir up contaminated dust, it must be done before cleanup takes place. • The pipe shop will have major repairs made to it’s historic timberframe structure. • The storage building on the creek will have its flood damaged foundation repaired.
An immense amount of historic knowledge is hidden in the spatial organization of patterns which will have to moved from the Pipe Shop pattern lofts before the building can be repaired. Each pattern will be photographed in situ, measured, described, entered into our collection management computer system, stored on racks in another building and then returned to its original location after the pipe shop is repaired.
As our environmental consultants clean up polluted dust, all the loose objects in the Foundry, Pattern Shop and Machine Shop - tools, patterns, hardware, everything! - will need to be removed, cleaned and then returned to their original locations when structural dusting is complete. With health and safety training and equipment provided by our professional consultants, all the processing of the loose items will be the responsibility of our volunteers.
As with the Pipe Shop pattern removal, this will be an opportunity to continue the inventory and collection conservation work we began under our Save America’s Treasures grant, several years ago.
There will also be some involvement for volunteers with woodworking or construction skills in the repairs to the timberframe structures in the foundry and pipeshop. We plan to begin organizing the volunteer effort in May, provided fundraising and planning for cleanup stay on track.
As soon as we have cleaned up sufficiently, we’ll open the doors to the public and begin training docents. Visitors viewing the historic renovation and preservation process itself will provide us with an opportunity to offer new educational programming at Knight Foundry.
23 Aug 07 * $870,750 State Grant Reserved for Knight Foundry
On March 1st, with the Knight Foundry Corporation actively assisting, the City of Sutter Creek submitted a Round 3 grant application to the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE). This application requested funds to help cover much of the cost of acquisition, environmental mitigation, and related renovation projects. In response to the application, on August 23rd, the CCHE board reserved $870,750 in matching funds for Knight Foundry, a tremendous boost to our fundraising campaign.
8 August 07 * Los Angeles Times Front Page Feature: “Diamond in the rough’
On August 8th, the Los Angeles Times published a full length front page feature on Knight Foundry. [link to the word document Ron prepared] Reporter Eric Bailey was very perceptive about the human dimensions of the historic skills preservation initiative which is the core of our preservation effort.
7 Apr 07 The Knight Foundry Corporation has completed an agreement with JustGive.org to allow on-line donations in the effort to save the Foundry and restore it to operation. Click to donate now.
28 Feb 07 Purchase Agreement Signed
On February 28th the City of Sutter Creek and the Knight Foundry owner, Samuel Knight & Co LLC (Richard Lyman, Managing Partner), signed a purchase agreement. The City of Sutter Creek will own Knight Foundry with The Knight Foundry Corporation, under a signed operating agreement, responsible for most fundraising and for operations and renovation.
Amador Ledger Dispatch writer Jennifer Gee was on the scene and wrote this article published March 2. Dana Nichols from the Stockton Record wrote this article published March 3rd.
With an operations agreement between the City and the Knight Foundry Corporation signed, the primary responsibility for fundraising, renovation, and operations will remain with our non-profit, the Knight Foundry Corporation, just as we have planned. The City of Sutter Creek has long been a partner in our efforts to preserve Knight Foundry and now has an important new role to play on the team.
As there are numerous programs and fundraising opportunities available to municipalities that are not available to non-profits, we have effectively broadened our fundraising base.
Now that the Knight Foundry is in escrow and CCHE grant funds are reserved for the Knight Foundry project, the immediate challenge is to raise the matching funds needed to close escrow!
26 Feb 07
The City of Sutter Creek and Samuel Knight LLC entered into a Purchase Agreement to buy the Foundry AND a Round 3 CCHE Grant Proposal was completed for submission by the City.
21 Jan 07:
Two new directors joined the Knight Foundry Corporation Board, bringing significant local involvement and professional strengths to the effort. Welcome Kimberly Wooten, historical archæologist, and Ron Edgar, machinist, entrepreneur, and management consultant. After coming up to speed and becoming very active in the day to day management of the non-profit, Ron Edgar was elected President and CEO. Additionally, Kyle Wyatt has been elected as Chairman of the Board, and Kimberly Wooten elected to the position of Secretary.
The City of Sutter Creek has been quietly negotiating with the current owners of the Foundry about a Purchase Agreement, a major step towards purchase of the Foundry. These negotiations have, we hope, entered the final stages. Stay tuned!
Work has started on a new grant proposal to the California Cultural and Historical Endowment. Although the 2006 proposal was not successful, several important sections received high ratings by the CCHE reviewers.
The initial steps to restart the Capital Campaign have begun. This is in anticipation of success in the negotiations for a Purchase Agreement.
New Grants Secured The City of Sutter Creek and the California Cultural and Historical Endowment have signed a grant agreement for $870,750 in matching funds for the purpose of purchasing the site and conducting environmental cleanup. Some structural repair work to the foundry and the pipeshop, and the rebuilding of the cupola blast furnaces, must be done as part of cleanup as they will interfere with the cleanup process.
With other resources in hand, we are now only about $275,000 short of being able to take title to the property. The Capital Campaign Committee is working hard to close the gap (and we need your help to do this).
The City also has received a grant of $200,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to fund environmental cleanup planning.
The non-profit Knight Foundry Corporation has been an active partner in the writing and negotiations for these grants. The working non- profit/municipal partnership has proven very productive, particularly in broadening the range of funding options available. The Knight Foundry Corporation has signed a twenty year Operating Agreement with the City, which will hold title to the site.
New Grant Applied For The City of Sutter Creek has submitted a grant application for matching funding in the amount of $700,000 to the Save America’s Treasures Program (SAT). Knight Foundry is an Official Project of SAT, and has been awarded $285,000 in prior grants for planning and structural stabilization. If awarded, this grant will cover most of the work in preserving and restoring the “collection”. In the case of Knight Foundry that includes the whole gamut from blast furnaces to graffiti on the walls.
Los Angeles Times Feature Article On August 8, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published a feature article on the Foundry and Ironmaster Russ Johnson. Click to view it.