By Lakeland Currents - September 18, 2018
It was a happy, fun meeting as the BOC (Board of Commissioners) welcomed officials from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Dream Home team this afternoon (9.18.18) at City Hall.
The 2019 St. Jude Dream House will be built in Lakeland, draw thousands of visitors and ultimately will be awarded to one lucky ticket-holder for the one-of-a-kind house.
Ground-breaking on the home in Winstead Farms is set for Oct. 24, time TBA, and open to the community. Tickets at $100 each go on sale the last week in March and the house will be given away June 23. The lot number is 8 and is on Adiago Lane.
During the BOC meeting, commissioners approved three resolutions:
•Waive sign ordinance regulations for the project
•Waive all City building permit fees excluding sewer connection fees
•Donate $10,000 from the City to the St. Jude Dream Home
Mayor Wyatt Bunker said, “This is a fun meeting. It’s going to be a blast.” He noted the excitement about the Dream House is high in the Lakeland community.
The builder for the home, Greg Bridgers with Southern Serenity Homes, said this is his 12th year to build a St. Jude Dream Home. “Never before have I had a municipality step up like you guys. You wrapped your arms around this."
Dr. Susan Aguillard, chairman of the dream Home Giveaway program, said, “We are very excited to be in Lakeland.”
She gave some history of the hospital and the Dream Home program. When St. Jude opened in 1962, the cure rate for children’s cancer was 20% and today it is 80%. “We’ve made great strides,” she said. She noted It takes $2 million a day to keep the hospital operating.
Of the Dream Home project, she said it is a huge program that helps St. Jude promote cures and research. “We are very happy to be here.
The Mayor said, “We couldn’t be more honored for Lakeland to be chosen for the 2019 Dream Home.”
Doug Swink with Renaissance Realty in Eads spoke of Mr. Bridgers. “I am taking Greg’s time tonight. He is the most selfless person I know.”
He explained that Mr. Bridgers minimizes or lowers the costs on the homes and designs a one-of-a-kind St. Jude Dream Home. “He’s not just calling subcontractors to make this happen. He spends months on end. Anything he can get donated, he does.
“The St. Jude Dream Home brings a community together. That’s what the St. Jude Dream Home is about.”
He complimented the City by saying, “The first thing out of the Mayor’s mouth was what can we do to help?”
Mr. Swink said the Home will bring awareness to the community and we want the community to embrace that. “Get all the businesses in town to donate to Partners in Hope. Let’s see stickers (indicating donations) in every retail establishment and restaurant in Lakeland.”
Megan Hannon with ALSAC and the Dream Home explained that with a $10,000 donation, the City will be considered a major sponsor with the City name on multiple mailings, tickets, website and the large sign on the site. The kickoff milestone will be Oct. 24, she said. “Then Greg will build us a very beautiful home. In the last week of March, the $100 each tickets will go on sale.”
Of the home, he said, “It is a special home. When people walk out, they say you’ve got to go see this home. We have to come out of the box,” he said.
“I’ll build this thing ‘til the day I drop. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the reception.” In two to three weeks the floor plan will be completed with renderings available, he said. “It’s not a normal house. It’s more like a show house. It will be valued at well over one-half million dollars, he said. But because of all the donations, it will be worth no less than $650,000.
Commissioner Matt Wright said he is totally excited. “I see a major partnership with our schools. I am looking forward to it. I am excited to support you.
The house raises money through 14,500 ticket sales at $100 each plus donations. Mr. Bridgers said he would expect businesses to donate, maybe not at the rate of the City’s $10,000, but all amounts are welcomed. Every donation reduces the costs to zero. “If you get the house to zero, watch the media blitz,” he said.
Mayor Wyatt Bunker's video (by Jim Willis, Lakeland Currents):