Sale of Dexter, Cape Girardeau Girl Scout facilities on hold

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DEXTER, Mo. -- The sale of Girl Scout facilities in Dexter and Cape Girardeau is on hold.

In late June the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland's board of directors announced the two facilities, along with one in Joplin, would go on the market "in an effort to consolidate operations on the eastern side of the council," according to Anne Soots, chief operating officer for the council.

That decision met with considerable disapproval locally from volunteers, many of whom have worked with the Girl Scouts for decades.

The purpose of the proposed sale, officials said at the time, was to "pool resources to find a location that better accommodates staffing needs and decreases current overhead."

As outlined in the general warranty deed to the property at 1420 Girl Scout Way in Dexter, the Regional Healthcare Foundation headquartered in Dexter was offered the right of first refusal. That right stemmed from the foundation having donated the land upon which the Girl Scout building now sits.

Upon receiving the offer in June, Regional Healthcare Foundation executive director Diane Mitchell responded to Girl Scouts CEO Jennifer M. Orban by asking for further information regarding the sale of the facility.

Last week, Orban responded to Mitchell's request with a letter stating, "The Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, Inc. has decided not to sell the Dexter property at this time."

The letter goes on to notify the foundation that they are revoking their June 24 offer of the right of first refusal.

The announcement to at least temporarily hold onto the Dexter facility comes on the heels of another announcement over the weekend from Lisa Garrett of Bernie, Mo., a local Girl Scout leader.

Garrett said the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland collected enough signatures to request a special meeting of the board of directors and that the meeting is slated for Monday at the Bess Student Center Auditorium at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

The purpose of the meeting, Garrett said before news came of the sale's postponement, was to discuss the board's decision to sell the Dexter and Cape Girardeau centers.

Although that point seems now to be moot, the meeting will be held as scheduled.

"The outpouring of public support has been overwhelming," Garrett said.

"Petitions, e-mails, letters and phone calls have been sent to the CEO and board president of the council in favor of keeping the office in Dexter."

Garrett also said that prior to a called board meeting to discuss "the uproar over the sale of the Dexter Service Center," board members were presented facts and documentation that could be used to reverse that decision, such as a map of the Dexter Service Center's 17-county area compared to the Cape Girardeau Service Center's four counties.

Orban said the Monday meeting will proceed as planned, despite the board's decision to withdraw the sale offer.

"We need to look at more research," Orban said, "including administration costs and staffing needs. We're trying to pool our resources to make certain we're accommodating our membership. Basically, we're trying to decrease our overhead costs while allowing us to allot more resources to the Girl Scouts including program membership services, training and council sponsored events."

Pertinent address:

1432 Kurre Lane, Cape Girardeau, MO

1420 Girl Scout Way, Dexter, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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