By Katy Savage
KILLINGTON— Six years after investors purchased the Killington Pico Area Association (KPAA) building, the organization is buying it back.
The KPAA has secured a 15-year loan to purchase the 9,000 square-foot Welcome Center building at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 100 in Killington for $357,000.
“It’s a six-year vision that has finally come true,” KPAA Executive Director Mike Coppinger said.
The KPAA has been around for about 25 years, but it never had a permanent location until Killington business owners Howard Smith, Phil Black and Chris Karr purchased the building, formerly Bill’s Country Store, at an auction six years ago. They formed an agreement where the KPAA would contribute rent toward the purchase of the building and then purchase it after six years.
“This was something at the top of the agenda when I was hired,” Coppinger said. “I feel proud to have had a part of this.”
Coppinger, who was hired 16 months ago, is the organization’s first full-time employee. He’s since hired a full-time assistant and he’s tried to make the Welcome Center more interactive with digital screens showing old ski videos and Killington promotional videos. The organization has also started hosting community meetings and forums.
The KPAA, a non-profit, hosts two events every year – the Killington Wine Festival and the Killington Holiday Festival, which raise funds for the organization. Plus, the KPAA has about 160 members.
Last year, the organization saw about 10,000 visitors.
Coppinger said the organization had previously tried to secure financing, but was unsuccessful until working with Heritage Family Credit Union.
“There was a lot of equity in the building,” he said. “Heritage Family felt secure in financing the building.”
Coppinger said the mortgage payment will be similar to the rent payments.
“This organization is truly the master of its own destiny,” Coppinger said.
There will be a ribbon cutting and celebration at the Welcome Center, April 2 at 5 p.m.
“We’re going to make a couple presentations and celebrate this milestone,” Coppinger said.
The KPAA has purchased its home in the welcome center at the intersection of routes 4 and 100.