Nonprofit Group Restructures Payment Plan for Steinbeck Center Construction

Mon May 14, 2007 - West Edition

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) The nonprofit National Steinbeck Center hasn’t come up with the $112,466 payment on the $3 million bond the city issued five years ago to help finance the center’s construction costs.

The payment was due Feb. 1, but Steinbeck Center administrators instead sent a letter to city officials with a partial payment and promising to pay the rest in three installments.

Attorney Jeff Gilles, the Steinbeck Center’s board chairman, said the payment plan would help the centerpiece of downtown redevelopment bridge the low attendance of the winter months.

Gilles said he restructured the center’s accounting and put all creditors on a payment plan after last year’s death of executive director Kim Greer.

“It took me a while to just get my hands around all the accounting issues,” he said.

The center received a $45,000 grant from the Packard Foundation to search for a new executive director, a process that’s now taking place, administrators said.

In 2002, the city agreed to issue bonds that would help the center pay its construction costs. The deal called for the city to take possession of the Steinbeck Center’s $8 million building if the annual $213,000 payments aren’t made. The bonds repay the city’s $2.5 million collateral it had deposited in local banks to get the needed construction loans.

“We’re doing much better in this particular fiscal year now that the downtown area has been repaired,” Gilles said “The National Steinbeck Center is operating on a positive cash flow.”