At the May 2021, monthly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Kennebunkport Historical Society, a motion was put forward to sell the Pasco Center, the administrative headquarters of the Historical Society. The motion to sell Pasco Center was predicated upon a year-long study and discussion by the Directors to determine whether it was in the long-range, financial best interest of the Society to own the number of buildings it currently maintains. The motion was based solidly upon unanimous agreement among the Directors that it would be in the long-range, financial best interest of the Society, especially in this challenging, post-pandemic economic era, to consolidate its real estate holdings. The motion was seconded.
Before taking a final vote, and in accordance with the Society’s by-laws, there was further discussion in which the fiscal rationale behind selling Pasco Center was summarized and reviewed. The Society owns three major buildings—Pasco Center, White Columns (aka Nott House), and Town House School. Annually, these three buildings generate significant overhead, exceeding combined revenue from the Annual Appeal, ad hoc donations, interest from the investment portfolio, and income from tours of White Columns & gift shop sales. The Pasco Center costs the Society approximately $20,000 to maintain each year. Pasco Center is also in need of approximately $100,000 worth of renovations. The Board also anticipates continued restoration of White Columns (aka Nott House), which has been in a vulnerable state of disrepair for some years. In short, Kennebunkport Historical Society cannot sustain and maintain three buildings and—at the same time—sustain through fiscally responsible management the Society’s future. A vote was taken, and it was unanimous: to sell Pasco Center.
The Board of Directors of the Society is endowed with a two-fold responsibility in their stewardship of the Society: 1) to protect and honor the mission of the Society to preserve Kennebunkport’s social, cultural, and architectural history—with the goal of making these more accessible, more relevant, and more connected to our day-to-day lives; and 2) to maintain the fiscal solvency and fiscal integrity of the Society in order to preserve the history of Kennebunkport. The first half of the Board’s two-fold responsibility, to protect and honor the mission of the Society to preserve the history of Kennebunkport, is not possible without the second half, i.e., to maintain a conscientious conservatorship of the Society’s assets. By the unanimous vote to sell Pasco Center, the Board of Directors judiciously and rationally espoused their conviction that the Society will be better equipped financially to continue its mission by divesting itself of the considerable overhead incumbent upon maintaining Pasco Center.
It was the late, nationally syndicated advice columnist Ann Landers who once wrote: “Many people think that holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. But there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go—and then to do it.” The Board’s decision to sell Pasco Center was not an easy decision but a discerningly deliberative decision for the greater good of The Kennebunkport Historical Society.
Thank you for your continuation of support to the Society,
KHS Board of Directors
Dana Dakers, President
John Zimmerman, Treasurer
Mike Burd, Secretary