Exciting Changes and New Beginnings
It has been some time since there was a formal update concerning the Sky Dragon Community Development Co-operative and the community centre we’ve created at 27 King William St. As such, we would first like to apologize for our tardy communication!
More importantly though, we would like to announce some great news about where the Co-op is at and where we’re heading. There are big changes afoot, and we can’t wait to share them with all of the friends, supporters, partners and fellow-travellers we have come to know over the years.
The best way to get all the latest news is to attend our upcoming Annual General Meeting:
Sky Dragon Annual General Meeting
Saturday, June 11
11 am to 1:30pm
Hamilton Central Library – Wentworth Room
At the AGM we will be discussing the items below in greater depth, soliciting ideas and feedback about future possibilities, and releasing an Annual Report that summarizes the state of the project today. There will be a free lunch served to everyone who attends.
A point of concern raised by the board at last year’s Annual General Meeting was the debt that Sky Dragon was carrying from when we ran the Bread and Roses Café and Mayday Magazine. We owed a considerable amount of money to the CRA, and monthly payments on this debt, combined with higher-rate mortgage financing, was placing a financial burden on the Co-op. One of our stated goals last year was to re-finance our property at 27 King William St., to pay out the CRA, and to secure better mortgage rates.
We are pleased to announce that the Co-op has been able to fulfil this critical goal, and a new financing deal has eliminated all debt beyond a first mortgage, a reduced second mortgage, and our community bonds. This deal significantly reduces our debt service costs and finally establishes the Co-op on rock-solid financial footing.
The path of community development has its share of bumps, twists and turns. This July, after five years the Sky Dragon Co-op will be ending its business relationship with Homegrown Hamilton, the ground-floor tenant at 27 King William St.. The Co-op did not make this decision lightly, nor without reason. Despite us not being able to move forward with Homegrown, we acknowledge that the cafe has been an important contributor to Hamilton’s music scene. We wish its owner/operators, Mike Pattison and Beth Chichakian, the very best with their new location.
While we are sad to see Homegrown go, we are very excited about the incredible establishment that will be taking its place. Rust City Brewery, a brew-pub and coffee shop, will be taking occupancy of the ground floor in August of this year, with an eye for opening in time for Supercrawl in September. James and Nancy from Rust City are an amazing, community-minded pair, and we can’t wait to see what they will bring to the ground floor of the Sky Dragon Centre. What we can affirm is that the ground floor of Sky Dragon will remain the same warm, accessible, progressive space it has been since the Bread and Roses Cafe opened 10 years ago.
For more information on Rust City Brewery, please check out:
As part of welcoming our new ground-floor tenants, the Co-op will be undertaking a widespread project of building renovations in the coming year. Our dear old 27 King William will be getting a much-needed face-lift, both inside and out, that ranges from the basement to the roof. We’re excited about the new functionality and aesthetic impact that these renovations will bring, and we’ll be including regular updates of the work-in-progress on our web-site and Facebook page.
Big Ideas and Future Directions
Finally, we’re excited to be unveiling some big ideas at our June 11 AGM. Our newfound stability has again turned the board’s attention to one of Sky Dragon’s original goals – affordable housing. The need for affordable accommodation is even greater than when the Co-op was founded in 2002, and the board is currently exploring a number of possibilities on this front. Projects being considered include working with development partners inside and outside Hamilton, exploring re-development of 27 King William or another property, and applying for funding to create an affordable housing development plan.
We hope to see you at the AGM on June 11th! If you can’t make it by, our Annual Report will be posted to the Sky Dragon web-site the following week. If you have any questions about what the Co-op is up to, and how you might get involved, please visit the web site or Facebook page, or contact: