Daphne leases Scenic Overlook to Community Foundation

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DAPHNE – The Scenic Overlook building above the Bayway will have new occupants for the next 18 months following action by the Daphne City Council.

The council voted May 20 to lease part of the building on Larry D. Cawyer Drive to the Community Foundation of South Alabama. The foundation will occupy the building for the next 18 months while its offices in downtown Mobile are being renovated, Rebecca Byrne, organization director, told council members.

She said the move will allow foundation operations to continue uninterrupted while construction is going on. The location on US 98 between the Interstate 10 Bayway and Spanish Fort is also convenient to foundation employees, several of whom live on the Eastern Shore.

“We want to extend our gratitude to you for allowing us to use the facility,” Byrne told council members.

She said construction on the foundation offices in Mobile should be complete by September 2020.

In the meantime, the foundation lease should not interfere with other uses of the overlook. She said the organization will not use the facility on weekends, at times when other groups are using the site. Foundation members are also often on the road working in the several counties around South Alabama served by the organization, so the office will not be open on all weekdays as well, she said.

Mayor Dane Haygood said youth groups and armed forces support groups also use the facility at times and those uses will not be affected.

“That usage of being a community facility will continue,” Haygood said.

The Community Foundation is a 43-year-old non-profit organization that links donors with people and groups needing support. The foundation invests donations and uses those funds to support organizations needing assistance.

Since its establishment in 1976, the foundation has grown to more than 450 funds and awarded more than $79 million in grants, according to the organization’s website.

The Scenic Overlook opened as a visitor center and second office of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce in 1999. The chamber later closed the visitor center when it consolidated offices in 2017. Since then, the overlook has not been open on a full-time basis.