Although Rick Browne says he was able to collect another $50,000 in pledges over the weekend as seed money for the proposed Fox Performing Arts Center, he still fell way short of a deadline to raise $500,000.
Monday was the deadline to come up with the funds, which West Dundee officials see as evidence that Browne's vision can be realized without them stepping in to finance his $1.8 million dream.
Browne, a local architect, has his heart set on turning the shuttered Ziegler's Ace Hardware store, now owned by the village, into a state-of-the-art performing arts facility that he says would revitalize the downtown and become a regional hub for actors, musicians and artists.
Brown has raised $171,000 and was supposed to turn in information about the money he's raised and a list of people who have pledged their support to Community Development Director Kathleen Tymoszenko,
But Tymoszenko says she has yet to receive anything from Browne.
It's her job to make a recommendation to the village board at the Aug. 20 meeting that trustees would vote on, but without the information from Browne Tymoszenko doesn't yet know whether she'll recommend a yea or nay vote.
Browne, who said he didn't realize he was supposed to send anything to Tymoszenko on Monday, believes he still has some wiggle room when it comes to raising money.
"I think the deadline was not a deadline," he said. "If you read the actual document that they passed, they said they would like to see a goal of $500,000 reached by July 30. That's exactly what it was, a goal to shoot toward, and we're very close to meeting that goal."
The wording in the March 19 resolution reads: "A July 30, 2012 deadline and fundraising goal of at least $500,000 is requested by the Village."
Village Trustee Norm Osth, who has opposed Browne's plan from the beginning, said the village has given Browne ample time to raise money and that he saw July 30 as a hard deadline. He's ready to move on and tear the old store down. Even if Browne were to come to the Aug. 20 meeting with the entire $500,000, Osth wouldn't budge.
"I'll still be against it," Osth said. "I will try whatever I can do in terms of what a trustee can do to thwart this. I just don't think (Browne) has the capability of pulling this off."
Trustee Tom Price isn't ready to kill the project just yet. He'd rather wait until he knows how much money an upcoming fundraiser generates. If the board votes for Browne's vision, trustees would put together a contract that outlines both parties' obligations for the property.
"I know that they are planning a fairly large fundraiser (at Otto Engineering in Carpentersville), so I guess at this point I'm willing to give them ... until Aug. 10 ... to see how that works out for them and then see where they're at before I make any judgments," Price said. "I think it'd be a great program for the village, but I also want to make sure they pull it off."
Tom Roeser, president and owner of Otto Engineering, is helping Browne raise money for the center and has donated some of his own cash to the cause.
Tearing the building down as momentum starts to build would be a huge mistake, Roeser said. He also said trustees should do more to help Browne raise the money, give him credit for the money he has already gotten and noted the investments Otto has made in the region.
"West Dundee is dying," Roeser said. "I will help them like I did in Carpentersville, I will help them like I am doing in East Dundee, but they've got to help themselves."