October 2023 - Board Meeting

10/04/2023 - Area 515 Board Meeting

10/04/2023 - Area 515 Board Meeting


  • President: Dave

  • Vice President: Jake

  • Secretary: Brad

  • Director: Tom (remotely)

  • Director: Ryan

  • Director: Carlin


  • Treasurer: Meg

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting

Vote to approve minutes of September Board Meeting

Yes: 6

No: 0

Result: Passed



  • Since we're already registered on PayPal as a non-profit, we can easily set up a VenMo account as well. With VenMo, fees are tacked on to payments to businesses, but not to people. Jake said he would work with Meg to set it up. It would be used for minor payments around the space. (Things like paying for sodas or laser plywood.) VenMo will NOT be used for membership payments. Too much automation would have to be changed.

QR Codes

  • The Secretary confessed that he hadn't looked into this yet. Jake did and said creating QR codes for payments shouldn't be too hard.

Building Committee Update

  • Jake talked with a commercial realtor who essentially told him, "good luck."

  • The lowest rental rate Jake could find was about $6/square foot for a 7,000 sq ft space. It was a triple net lease (NNN) which would require us to pay a lot more recurring expenses, such as building insurance (which we don't have). Essentially we'd be responsible for everything, including snow removal.

  • The big question is if we were to buy at commercial rates, how much would we need to raise membership rates. We don't have an answer to this yet.

Discussion on Purchasing instead of Renting New Location

  • It was mentioned that as a 501c3 we would be exempt from property tax if we purchase a place.

  • Tom talked to a friend who works at Iowa State Bank. That person indicated they'd be willing to finance us if we want to buy a location.

  • To buy even a "bad building" would be at least $400,000 dollars. Far in excess of anything we could do out of pocket.

  • If we own a building, there are a lot of additional recurring costs we'd have to take on, only one of which is upkeep on the building itself. We would also need to have at least 1 full time employee.

Further Discussions

  • Jake floated the idea of splitting the makerspace into a Technical side and Manufacturing side. As is, the makerspace is a whole lot of different things, everything from computer hardware to metal working to textiles and sewing machines. People who are thinking about donating money or trying to form a partnership with us would be unlikely to see our wide repertoire as an asset. Most people are looking to donate to more specific causes or areas of development. By splitting the space into Technical and Manufacturing pieces we'd be focusing more on the areas that attract donations and funding.

  • A gentleman from NE Nebraska visited recently. He's part of "NE Ihub", a new makerspace opening in that area. Their space is being formed by a number of different community groups. They already have 2 employees and funding! That also comes with some strict limitations - there are limited open hours and they have to have a staff member present at all times.

  • Ryan will be get a tour of the Center for Industrial Research & Service in Ames. Apparently they're free to ISU students and open until 1am! Ryan plans to ask them where they get their money from. Apparently they had never heard of us, so maybe we can start getting referrals from them!

  • In the past the space considered partnering with DMAC as a source of funding, however DMAC wanted almost complete control of the space and wanted to implement a lot of restrictions. We, as a space, weren't okay with that.

  • Dave suggested we call up DMAC, Drake, Grandview, and various art organizations like Barnum to suggest partnering with them.

  • Drake has some makerspace-like facilities, however to use one of the various areas you have to be in a grad program for that area.

  • In order to avoid restrictions, Jake suggested we could sell partnerships as a spinoff of our site.

  • Dave believes that in order to grow we probably need to partner with larger institutions. One idea might be to get these places to consolidate their makerspaces into ours.

  • On the subject of raising more money by writing grants, grant writing is itself a full time job. Big non-profits have whole teams of people whose only job is fundraising.

  • We are, or at least were, on the radar of the Greater Des Moines Partnership (GDMP). Their focus is making Des Moines more attractive to development. One of their metrics is where is Des Moines falls on those lists of "Top 10 Places to Live" and the like. A lot of those lists have started including makerspaces as part of their metric. The idea is that a makerspace helps retain professionals, start-ups can rent space from it, and is a space to build tech education groups. Thus we have been on GDMP's radar, although they would like us to be more of a space for start ups. We used to have a contact at the GDMP, but he has since moved on.

  • Speaking of being a space for start-ups. Maple Ventures is a local start-up space for software companies. We could provide/become an ecosystem for hardware start-ups.

  • Dave said he would make a list of groups to talk to and start reaching out to representatives to see what they say. Our pitch to donors right now is that we explain what's in it for the community.

Membership Update: 99

  • A spouse of one of our members joined!

  • The above item seemed kind of sad by itself, so I added an exclamation point and this additional bullet point.

Space Updates

  • Ward has a lead on an inexpensive (possibly free) rotary phase converter to power the metal mill. It's a friend from his tractor group. If we get our pick, a 3 hp VFD would be great.

  • Laser Stewards have talked about what sort of new lasers to get, nothing beyond that.

  • The sander in the Wood Shop is still broken. The Stewards aren't exactly sure what's wrong. They're thinking about getting a larger planer and selling off the jointer/planar combo.

Vote to approve spending $1000 for a 15" planer if the opportunity arises.

Yes: 6

No: 0

Result: Passed

  • The CEC is covering the cost of food at the upcoming member meeting. They'll save the receipts for reimbursement.

  • Jake talked with an organization called "By Degrees." They asked if we would be willing to sponsor some selected high school seniors who might want to use the space over the summer. The organization has members at schools in the area and can identify students who would be a good fit. The board reiterated that any person needs to be at least 18 years old to use the space by themselves. The board was enthusiastic about the idea.

  • Dave spoke with someone from Merrill middle school who was interested in doing a class or classes like we did with the girl scouts. The difficulty is that we're not exactly kid friendly.

Meeting Adjourned

  • "Hear ye, Hear ye or Whatever" - the President's call to order

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