By Margaret Magnus
The need for the fireproof garage/workshop sparked a series of discussions which led directly to the development of a long-range master plan for Meher Mount.
Meher Mount had earlier begun long-range planning discussions by holding two community meetings – February 7, 2004 and May 22, 2004 –to brainstorm ideas that would help guide the master plan.
The donation for the fire-proof garage/workshop gave the planning process a boost as the Board of Directors began to wrestle with various options for the building.
SERENDIPITY PROVIDES HELP IN LONG-TERM PLANNING
As events would have it, on a Saturday in March 2007 several people – including board member Jamshid Ebrahimzadeh, volunteer Glenn Russ, Manager/ Caretakers Elizabeth Arnold and Ray Johnston – met to discuss building the garage.
Coincidentally, board president Sam Ervin and his wife Margaret Magnus were taking their friends, Byron and Nancy Pinckert, to Meher Mount for their first visit.
Bryon Pinckert is an architect and a founding partner in the planning and architectural firm HPA, Inc., in Irvine, California. Nancy Pinckert is a graphic designer and has a master’s degree in architecture.
A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK TO HELP FOCUS THE PLANNING PROCESS
After walking the property and spending the day at Meher Mount, they developed an approach to the conceptual framework of the master plan.
Days after their visit, Byron called Sam Ervin to say that he and Nancy had a few conceptual ideas about planning for the property. Would Sam be interested in hearing them?
"Absolutely," said Sam. A few evenings later Margaret and Sam were treated to a full-blown, illustrated slide presentation. They were delighted with the concepts presented.
Sam then called nearby fellow board member Jamshid Ebrahimzadeh to set up another informal presentation. Jamshid and his wife Ellie Azhang, too, were excited about the concepts and approach to planning.
At the next Board meeting, Byron made the presentation to the entire board. Since then in many ensuring discussions, Byron and Nancy have helped to provide perspective, continuity, and technical advice that has given shape and structure to Meher Mount’s Master Plan and its implementation.
THE WORKSHOP TAKES PRIORITY
During the planning process, the Board asked Manager/Caretakers Ray Johnston and Elizabeth Arnold what would be their highest priority for Meher Mount's first building that was part of the Master Plan: a new "barn" or separate caretaker quarters?
They responded: a new barn or house the tractor and other equipment, some storage, and a workshop space. It was also the smallest and least expensive of potential projects. And because of a few generous donors, it was so much more feasible to do without a major fundraising campaign.