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Bean Foundation, now working with 'developing partner,' announces a step back from timeline.

The date for the first installment check for a new Madras sports complex has come and gone without any funds changing hands, but the project is still reported to be moving forward.

"We are discussing the project," said George Neilson, president of the Bean Foundation, which has announced that it is working with the "developing partner" on the project. "People are taking a step back from the originally announced schedule."

The possibility of a $30 million to $40 million multisport complex, to be funded entirely by a local donor, was first made public in December by Jim Weyermann, the new executive director of the Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District, who has worked on similar projects in other places.

Weyermann was approached by the donor shortly after he started work in Madras in October, and immediately went to work to make it a reality. By December, there were preliminary plans drawn up for a 125,232-square-foot indoor complex, to be built at Juniper Hills Park.

At the Jan. 14 meeting of the MACRD Board of Directors, Weyermann said that the location for all or part of the project might change, but he expected the first installment of $750,000 for the design and construction documents, and initial costs associated with the plans, to be transferred to the district's nonprofit MAC Trust by Jan. 25.

In a press release on Jan. 25, the Bean Foundation thanked Weyermann for facilitating the preliminary discussions, and noted that the Bean Foundation's board of directors had sat down with the potential donor and "discussed vision. However, at this juncture, we all feel it necessary to have further discussions that could solidify scope and impact of such a project."

"For this reason, we feel it prudent to delay our originally published schedule to allow the team to further define key functions and engage principal personnel," the press release noted.

On Monday, Neilson commented that there is a great deal of study to be done. "Everyone is excited about the project, but there's a need to study the site or sites, and develop a project team and a facility design," he said. "It's a very careful process that's being brought together. The goal is to do it sooner than later."

Neilson said that the Bean Foundation's entire board would meet with the developing partner again this week to discuss the project and goals.

"We're taking a step back and we're doing our due diligence, and that comes from both sides," he said.


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